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As an ovarian cancer survivor, I will race in 50 triathlons in all 50 states by 50-years-old to raise $100,000 for ovarian cancer research. This campaign is self inspired, self orchestrated and 100% self funded. In addition, all in-kind donations are turned into cash donations by me in the same name of the person who donates. I race for women who have lost their battle, women undergoing treatment and women yet to be diagnosed.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Partner in Science

OCRF asked me to participate in their Partners in Science program, as a thank you for my campaign and efforts over the last five years.  That means I got to view several research projects and decide to whom the $107,000 I raised should go.  Now I don't profess to know a thing about science (some may recall my mathematics background) but they were fantastic to read.  I understood more than I thought; luckily OCRF put it into a nice summary for me.  It was unclear how I would chose.  After all, what was my criteria?  It was completely up to me.  Seven projects were offered and I hoped that one would "speak" to me.  I read them and reread them and then read them again.  I waited a few days and read them again, this time omitting a few.  Finally there were three candidates left and I read each project summary two more times. 
Finally I chose Dr. Matthias Stephan's project.  He is based out of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.  As I hoped, his work "spoke" to me.   My mother read his summary as well and liked his face and also his name.  My step-father's name is Matthias.  But that's not really why I chose him.  It was his work... and two lines of his project summary in particular.
  • We propose to create an injectable reagent that can quickly reprogram the patient’s immune cells (particularly T lymphocytes) to recognize and destroy ovarian tumors.
  • In contrast to standard chemoradiation therapies, nanoparticle-mediated targeting can direct T cells to selectively destroy only ovarian cancer cells, without damaging healthy tissue or producing toxic side effects.
This just made sense to me and gives me a lot of hope.  Remembering my own treatment and how awful the side effects were, the thought of target therapy with minimal to no side effects makes me almost giddy.  A big WOOT! to Dr. Stephan for coming up with the idea and another round of WOOT! to the Scientific Advisory Board of OCRF for recognizing and choosing him. I am thrilled to be a small part of it.