CLIFTON, N.J. — Middle and Elementary School students in Bernardsville, NJ banded together this October to raise $5,400 to assist the breast cancer research efforts of the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization which support breast cancer research and the work of Dr. Larry Norton and colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and other national and international research facilities. The students conducted a “Bracelets For Breast Cancer” fundraiser that was the brain child of Maggie Bowie, a parent at the Bernardsville Middle and Elementary Schools, who was spurred to act at the suggestion of her 5th Grade son Ian after Mrs. Bowie learned a friend who she had worked with on various school committees for the past four years was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“My friend Stefanie was diagnosed with breast cancer this May,” Mrs. Bowie recalls. “We worked closely at our children’s elementary school on various committees, primarily the school yearbook. We spoke everyday from the first day of school until the last day of school. She listened to me complain about things when they went wrong and is always supportive.”
“When she told me about her diagnosis all I could think was why? Why this person who is always positive and giving of her time and patience to endless people, committees and charities? One day Ian came home and said he wanted to sell bracelets for charity and I thought there couldn’t be a better way to help.”
The Bowie family formulated a plan and the first step was to decide which breast cancer charity to become involved in. “I told Stefanie our idea and she told me about the article she read about CBCF and Dr. Norton,” notes Mrs. Bowie. “We both liked that 100% goes to research. She’s currently having her treatments at Sloan-Kettering in Basking Ridge NJ so it felt like the perfect fit for our fundraiser.”
Word of the campaign quickly spread throughout the Middle and Elementary Schools and the Bernardsville community at large. Friends of both Ian and Mrs. Bowie’s daughter Mackenzie were incredibly eager to help, creating hundreds of hand-made loom bracelets. Mrs. Bowie reached out to local stores to sell the bracelets. Throughout the month of October, bracelets were purchased at four Bernardsville retailers with 100% of the sales donated to CBCF. Participating stores included Laura Clare, Penguin Ice Cream, The Rebecca Collection, and Salon Studio.
Children also sold bracelets at out-of-town retail locations and are accepting independent donations.
“Bracelets For Breast Cancer’ really turned into a community event,” says. Mrs. Bowie. “The children earned community service hours and learned a great lesson! Our goal was to reach $5,000 and we beat it!”
Even more fitting, “Bracelets For Breast Cancer” is a nearly a direct reflection of how CBCF was formed and prospered into one of the tri-state region’s most respected non-profit fundraising organizations. CBCF is a product of one child’s dedication to her mother’s cause. The genesis of CBCF can be traced to Carly Abramson of New Jersey after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Carly, who was 12 years old at the time, made her mother a beaded key ring as a comfort gift. Fueled by love for her mother and undaunted by the challenges, Carly, decided to sell the key rings in the name of breast cancer research through BCA Creations, an organization she founded.
Since its inception in December 2007, CBCF has raised over $4.5 million. Fully 100% of its net fundraising proceeds received by the foundation are donated to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan and other national and international cancer research facilities to support the research being conducted under the direction of Dr. Norton and his colleagues.
Dr. Norton’s research focuses on the theory of breast cancer “self seeding”: the ability of breast cancer cells to move and start new cancers growing, not only in distant organs like the bones and liver (called metastases), but in the breast itself. This behavior is referred to as “self seeding” as it recalls the way weeds take over a garden: not by the growth of each individual weed plant, but by the seeding of new weed plants that grow in a confluent fashion. By this concept, breast cancer is not one mass, but rather a collection of contiguous smaller masses.
This method of growth is indeed true in certain experimental models and research is ongoing to prove that it happens in people as well. It explains many aspects of cancer: rapid growth, disorganization, formation of new blood vessels, need to irradiate a breast after lumpectomy for cancer and the association of all of the above with distant metastases. If correct, it will provide new targets for the development of drugs to treat and prevent cancer. Since “seeding” is an abnormal process—as opposed to the normal process of mitosis—such drugs may not only be more effective, but less toxic as well. Hence, the concept of self-seeding is not only interesting from the point of view of biology, but possibly very important in the design of better approaches to cancer management and prevention, as well as in finding a cure.
For more information on the CBCF, please call (973) 471-CBCF (2223) or visit http://curebreastcancerfoundation.org.
Cure Breast Cancer Foundation
The Cure Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) is a Clifton, N.J. – based not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charity devoted to fund research on the growth and spreading of breast cancer cells, also known as the Self-Seeding Theory, at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan and other national and international cancer research facilities under the direction of Dr. Larry Norton, who serves as the Foundation’s Scientific Advisor. The founder and president is Carly Abramson. Her father, Andrew Abramson, is Treasurer. For more information, call (973) 471-CBCF (2223), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.curebreastcancerfoundation.org.