Your Dollars at Work


Your support of Steppin’ Out in Pink has helped:

  • Fully fund the $2 million Norman L. Gillette Jr. Cancer Research Fellowship. Earnings from this endowment fund support a full-time PhD cancer researcher dedicated to the science and study of breast cancer. The current holder of this fellowship is Kristopher Lofgren, PhD, who studies GRB7, a key gene involved in both HER2-amplified and triple-negative breast cancer.
  • Support the work of Paraic Kenny, PhD, Director of the Kabara Cancer Research Institute, on the role of mammary growth factors in the development of estrogen-dependent breast cancers.
  • Fund outcomes based research performed by Jeffrey Landercasper, MD, which have corrected gaps in the quality of care received by breast cancer patients everywhere in the U.S. Examples include:
    • Eliminating unnecessary second operations
    • Using needle biopsy instead of surgery to diagnose cancer
    • Avoiding general anesthesia in breast surgical cases in more than 60 percent of patients, resulting in less pain and reduced nausea
    • Enable national collaborative breast cancer research between Gundersen Medical Foundation and more than 36 institutions across the nation
    • Chair of the Patient Safety & Quality Committee (PSQC) of the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS) 2010-2016
    • Support a full-time Clinical Research Coordinator, resulting in more than 8 research studies published in peer-reviewed journals over the past 5 years and confidence from patients they’re receiving the highest quality of breast care in the region
  • Provide support to establish Gundersen Medical Foundation’s Oncology Research Laboratory in the Kabara Cancer Research Institute, located on the UW-L campus.
  • Provide support to establish Gundersen Medical Foundation’s BioBank in 2008 and support its continued operation.
    • Currently over 20,000 samples collected from local cancer patients between 1983 and today.
  • Fund a research study that showed that a growth promoting gene, Amphiregulin, which plays key roles in breast tissue development during puberty, is reactivated later in life and contributes to the formation of Estrogen Receptor Positive breast cancer. This work was published in Cancer Research (2015).
  • Fund a research study examining the effect of mutations in the GATA3 gene on mammary gland development and breast cancer formation. This work was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (2016).
  • Support an international collaboration between Gundersen Medical Foundation breast cancer researchers and Australian colleagues to help understand the effects of fluctuating calcium levels in breast cancer cells on their behavior. This work was published in Molecular Oncology (2016).
  • Provide 103 life-saving mammograms to underinsured and uninsured women in our community ($40,000 given annually since 2012)
  • Provide 442 grants to 218 breast cancer patients to help pay for basic needs such as food, transportation or hotel stays during treatment (50,000 given annually to Paula’s Purse Cancer Patient Fund since 2012)
  • Fund numerous breast cancer awareness programs, such as Living in Pink Support Group and Survivorship Clinic.
  • Educate Cancer Center staff to stay up-to-date on cutting-edge technology and treatments.


Current/Future work

  • Paraic Kenny, PhD and his team will be conducting research on genes controlling the behavior of aggressive breast cancers.
  • Sunny Guin, PhD, will be focusing his research efforts on other cancers affecting women, such as ovarian cancer.
  • Implement the latest generation of cancer diagnostics using a new genome sequencing instrument, led by Paraic Kenny, PhD & Grzegorz Gurda, MD PhD.
  • Dr. Leah Dietrich, Oncologist, has an active study entitled “Comparison of Two Cancer Treatment Summary and Care Plan (CTSCP) Templates