The lifesaving importance of cancer research was the focus of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital's annual illumination Gala held in April at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Nearly 600 guests raised a record-setting $2.3 million for cancer research at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
Dollars raised at illumination support the Foundation's Cancer Frontier Fund, created to accelerate research breakthroughs at Siteman that will lead to new ways to prevent and treat cancer. In 2015, the Cancer Frontier Fund helped launch nine cancer research projects at Siteman. These projects hold promise to find better treatments for ovarian cancer, melanoma, pancreatic cancer and leukemia, as well as to develop new techniques to provide more individualized treatment for breast cancer, brain tumors, and more. Since 2010, the Foundation has supported more than 40 research projects at Siteman through the Cancer Frontier Fund.
TACKLING CANCER FROM ALL ANGLES
"Cancer is a formidable foe," says Tim Eberlein, MD, director of Siteman. "One challenge is that cancer is not just one disease, it's many. And there's not a singular, one-size-fits-all cure. For example, breast cancer comes in many forms, with many different causes. So we have to tackle cancer from several different angles."
Dr. Eberlein says that's why cancer research support is so important. "Unfortunately, federal research funding is the lowest it has been since 1971. That means thousands of research proposals are left unfunded each year. Every dollar raised through illumination makes a difference in keeping research moving forward. The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital is like a venture capitalist investing in new ideas. And I'm happy to say these investments are paying off in big ways."
Gala co-chairs were Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO, Ameren Corporation, and his wife, Cindy, along with Dave Spence, chairman, Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging, and his wife, Suzie. Ameren and The Spence Family were presenting sponsors of the gala.
Warner has lost several family members to cancer. He says his brother Gary, who beat cancer, inspires him to keep fighting against the disease. "My brother's victory over cancer gives me hope. And so does the ongoing, groundbreaking research that is happening at Siteman. It was inspiring to witness the overwhelming support from guests at the illumination Gala."
Together, we're making an impact on the future of cancer care.
Fellow co-chair Dave Spence acknowledged the contribution that Bill and Amy Koman made when they established the Cancer Frontier Fund in 2009. "Bill's vision was to bring lifesaving treatments to the forefront faster by supporting leading-edge research at Siteman," Dave says. "With the outpouring of support at illumination and from other donors to the Foundation, we're making this happen for our family and friends."