A person’s lifetime risk of getting cancer is about 1 in 2. Last year, about 1.6 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer, including more than 19,000 Oklahomans.
“If you don’t get cancer, then it will be your mom or your friend or your son,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “Cancer touches us all, often in a deeply personal way. The odds of survival are always improving and we have research to thank for that.”
Cancer is a major target for OMRF, which has two departments dedicated to better understanding how cancer develops and looking for new ways to diagnose and treat the disease, he said. But there’s more to do.
“We are launching a $10 million fundraising campaign to hire a new senior-level scientist, expand our research staff and update labs and equipment focused on advancing cancer research,” Prescott said.
OMRF has raised $3.1 million so far, including a $500,000 challenge grant from the Tulsa-based Mabee Foundation.
“The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation is a long-time supporter of OMRF,” said Vice Chairman Raymond Tullius. “The Mabee Foundation assists hospitals, clinics, hospices and other institutions providing relief to cancer victims. Helping expand cancer research at OMRF could lead to better tests, new treatments and lives saved in Oklahoma and around the world.”
Lead donations to the campaign include:
- $1 million from New Source Energy chairman David Chernicky
- $1 million from the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation
- $600,000 from the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma
Christy Everest, who is co-chairing OMRF’s Cancer Campaign with Gene Rainbolt, said this is the ideal time to expand cancer research.
“As technology continues to advance, we are seeing more cancer breakthroughs than ever before, and OMRF is at the forefront,” she said. “In the last few years, the foundation has identified biomarkers that will make some cancer surgeries safer and more effective, unlocked secrets about cell division that could become new therapeutic targets and advanced a drug to phase 1 FDA clinical trials that, if successful, could help fight one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer.”
Cancer research is complex, costly and takes time, said Prescott.
“The more we do now to advance understanding of cancer, the sooner we can begin treating or even preventing the disease from starting,” he said.
Those interested in more information can email Penny-Voss@omrf.org or call (405) 271-7400.