Nancy Partridge, left, and Martha Lauer Cowley complete the Susan G. Komen 3-day cancer walk. Courtesy photo
By NANCY PARTRIDGE
Saturday, Oct. 6, is the final breast cancer fundraising event of the season for me. I’ll be walking five miles in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event at Villa Linda Park in Santa Fe.
This is the first time I have participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. I wasn’t even aware of the event until the Avon Foundation sent out a notification that they had discontinued their 39-mile fundraising walks and had instead become a sponsor for the American Cancer Society event.
I was a lifetime achievement walker for Avon, so it was a pretty big shock to me when they stopped producing their signature walk. Having no brand loyalty in my fundraising, I switched to walking 60-miles for Susan G. Komen, and then also signed up for the Making Strides Walk for ACS and Avon. I also did the Relay for Life in Los Alamos, another ACS event.
All told, the fundraising and training season took 28 weeks and involved walking about 83 event miles plus 750 training miles. My walking teams have raised just over $7,000 – I certainly didn’t do it alone, my friend Martha Lauer Cowley and my niece Jennifer Trujillo were also involved, along with several dozen very generous donors.
Collaboration has grown in the nonprofit world as fewer donors and bigger expenses are stretching resources. In 2013 almost 40 breast cancer nonprofits and research organizations joined forces to combine resources toward metastatic breast cancer.
Combining resources has increased the rate of progress. Research has produced some impressive results in the last few years.
In the last 12 years, 31 new genomic therapy drugs have been approved for cancer treatment. The one-size fits all cancer treatments of the 1970s are a thing of the past.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have developed a blood test which identifies markers for ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colorectal, lung and breast cancer. The test is called CancerSeek and once it is readily available, it should dramatically increase early detection and treatment rates.
The 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was just awarded to two researchers who discovered how to manipulate the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. American James Allen and Japanese researcher Tasuku Honjo each discovered treatments that are particularly effective against melanoma and lung cancer.
These are just two recent examples of the research progress that can happen when funding is available.
Discoveries like these take years and millions of dollars to develop. The Nobel-prize winning research on immunotherapy began in the early 1990s.
Dr. Tim Lopez
Los Alamos’s new oncologist, Dr. Tim Lopez will be presenting a community seminar Oct. 15 about “New Directions in Cancer Diagnosis and Treatments: Precision Medicine.” The seminar, at the First Baptist Church, will go into the challenges, limitations, and future of new molecular diagnostic techniques.
Precision Medicine is all about customizing treatment to the individual. It is about matching the right patient with the right intervention, based on individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle. And chemotherapy is no longer the go-to solution for everyone.
Dr. Lopez has been in Europe the past few weeks presenting an in-depth high-level version of his presentation to the medical community.
The version of the talk he will present in Los Alamos will be more generalized and accessible to the general public. Reservations to attend the free seminar, which includes a dinner, must be made by Oct. 10. Call 505.662.2656 or go to www.losalamoscounciloncancer.org.
About the author: Nancy Partridge is a native of Los Alamos. She learned to walk about a year after being born at Los Alamos Medical Center. Everyone is invited to join Team Nancy and walk in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on Oct. 6 at Villa Linda Park in Santa Fe – no fundraising minimum and the walk is only a few miles. http://main.acsevents.org/goto/npartridge