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June 13, 2011
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate receives $200,000 for breast cancer research

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Five area women who have died from breast cancer—including three sisters—are among those being honored by the Carol M. Baldwin Fund for Breast Cancer Research through special grants awarded to Upstate Medical University.

The grants, named for the women, total $200,000 and help fund ongoing breast cancer research at Upstate’s Cancer Research Institute.

“Our ultimate goal in finding a cure for breast cancer is still elusive and the disease continues to take the lives of our grandmothers, moms, sisters and daughters,” said Elizabeth Baldwin, executive director of the Baldwin Fund. “But we will not be deterred in our fight against this disease. The research support we provide in the names of these women will help us battle this disease for future generations of women.”

The research grants honor a trio of sisters: Nancy J. Schwenn Mack, of Cortland who died in 2008 at age 45; Pamela J. Schwenn Davis of Carlisle who died in 2000 at 45, and Cynthia J. Schwenn Keelhar of Dryden, who died in 1993 at age 40. All women endured numerous cancer treatments and surgeries, including mastectomies and stem cell transplants.

Also honored by the breast cancer research grants are Marsha Baris, who died in 2009 at age 49, and Eleanor Sawmiller Schardt, who died in 2002 at age 78.

Grants to support the endowed lectureships on breast cancer research are being made in the honor of two cancer survivors: Lynn Conroy of Cazenovia and Lynn Schween Johnson, sister the three Schween sisters who died from breast cancer. Upon encouragement of her sisters, Lynn had a bilateral mastectomy after she was genetically tested and found to be a significant risk for breast cancer. Lynn credits her genetic testing with saving her life.
The lectureships are delivered annually at Upstate by leading researchers into the breast cancer.

“We are grateful for the Baldwin Fund’s continued support for Upstate’s breast cancer research program,” said Debashis Ghosh, MSc, Ph.D., Upstate professor of pharmacology and a member of the Cancer Research Institute faculty. “These funds, in the names of those who have died and survived breast cancer, remind us of the toll a diagnosis of cancer has on families and help us in our pursuit for finding better treatments and ultimately a cure.”

The Baldwin Fund will likely raise additional money for Upstate through its annual Ride for Research, to be held Sept. 11. The ride begin at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in downtown Syracuse and feature participation of more than 600 motorcyclists, who are expected to raise more than $80,000. In addition to the ride, a 2011 merlot-colored Harley Davidson, provided by Performance Harley-Davidson of Syracuse, will be raffled off to benefit breast cancer research.

Since the 2002, the Baldwin Fund has contributed more than $2 million to Upstate researchers.

“My mother has always said that ‘together we will win the fight against breast cancer,’” said Beth Baldwin. “We are so grateful for everyone’s support in helping us in this battle.”

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