UAB cancer center receives $1 million donation to fight breast cancer

$1 million donation to fight breast cancer

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The fight against breast cancer got a big boost on Friday.

During a celebration at The Club in Birmingham, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama presented UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center with a check for $1 million. It’s the largest donation ever raised by the foundation.

“This donation to research is just so encouraging to me," said Jill Carter, the President of the Board of Directors for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation who’s also a breast cancer survivor. “It’s encouraging in the fight, and it’s encouraging that our city is making such a big difference in the world in breast cancer research.”

Carter said most of the donations come from people in the community. She calls it a grassroots effort. Involved in that effort are several fire departments in our area, including firefighters in Center Point.

“We see this day to day. We go into people’s homes. We’re affected by it,” explained Chris Horn, Logistics Director for the Center Point Fire District. "Some of our men and women are affected by it personally.”

The Center Point Fire District, which includes Clay and Pinson, has raised more than $50,000 over the past five years to help fight breast cancer. They raise the money by selling t-shirts and hosting the annual Rickey Davis Memorial Golf Tournament in the summer.

“One reason we like to share the money with Breast Cancer Research Foundation is because the money stays here,” said Horn.

“Much of these monies will go to fund pilot projects,” said Dr. Michael Birrer, Director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Birrer describes pilot projects as great ideas that are high risk and may not work. He said these projects normally can’t get funding.

“These funds are really critical to move the field forward,” said Birrer.

According to Birrer, a successful pilot project puts them in a position in a year or two to apply for a big grant from the National Cancer Institute.

“I can’t over emphasis how important these foundation monies are,” said Birrer.

“We want to keep funding research until there are better treatments and ultimately a cure,” said Carter.

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