The Largest Single Personal Gift in Susan G. Komen for the Cure® History Destined for Young Researchers
DALLAS — November 10, 2009 — One family’s experience with breast cancer has led to the largest single personal gift of $1 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® for the fight to end the disease.
Ruby Nelson, mother of Charlotte Nelson, left the posthumous gift to Komen for the Cure in honor of her daughter’s fight against breast cancer. Her generous gift will provide much-needed funds for young researchers.
After surviving breast cancer, Charlotte lost her battle with colon cancer in 1999. Patricia Willets, a longtime friend of the Nelson family, tells Komen that Charlotte left her estate to her mother with instructions that any remaining funds after Ruby’s death be channeled to Komen for the Cure.
“Komen seemed an obvious choice to Charlotte,” said Willets. “After her colon cancer diagnosis, there was a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Charlotte was too ill to participate, but work colleagues walked in her honor with a banner they had made. I suspect Komen gave her good support and she understood the need.”
“Ruby’s gift will be used to help young scientists pursue research that has led to better survival rates, more effective treatments and more hope than ever before for women and men with breast cancer,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “Charlotte’s and Ruby’s compassion for others and their desire to bring about cures for this disease will live on always through the work of the extraordinary scientists that Komen funds.”
Ruby was 90 years old at the time of her death in February 2008. She resided in Santa Rosa, CA and worked as a medical technologist for over 40 years, continuing to stay active with volunteer work after her retirement.
Charlotte Nelson was born in Minnesota, but spent most of her adult life in Southern California. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just before her 50th birthday, underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy, and returned soon after to her job as vice president of an online consumer credit reporting company. Her return to work, however, was brief. Sadly, she was diagnosed with colon cancer shortly after and at the age of 52 passed away.
Ruby’s gift, in honor of Charlotte, will be used to fund research aimed at breast cancer treatment disparities for minority women, and to discover new therapies for the disease, specifically:
• Chemotherapy Resistance in Hispanic and African American Patients – Ana Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas
• A Functional Genomic Approach to Discovery of Breast Cancer Therapeutic Targets – Thomas Westbrook, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX
• Physiologic modeling of common P13-kinase pathway mutations in human breast epithelial cells to develop mutant-specific targeted therapies - Josh Lauring, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
Komen’s Career Catalyst Research grants provide grants to scientists in the early stages of their careers to achieve research independence with an award of up to $450,000 over three years. This research explores the basis for differences in breast cancer outcomes in disparate groups, and the translation of this research into clinical and public health practice interventions.