The ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund

The ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund was established in 1994 by Albert Cohen shortly after his then-33-year-old daughter, Lynn, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Cohen, then-CEO of Electronic Space Systems Corporation (ESSCO), met with researchers and physicians at the MGH and learned that promising research is not often funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), because of its risky and unproven nature. However, it is precisely this type of innovation that could eventually lead to a cure. So Cohen established the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund as an endowment to provide seed money for these types of novel research programs. He then contributed $25,000. His goal: raise $5 million for an endowment that would support this type of breast cancer research at MGH in perpetuity. Cohen then asked his friend, William (Bill) Leisman, to consider making a $25,000 donation to help initialize the fund. Bill jumped on the bandwagon. Next came Joseph (Joe) Bruno. He, too, donated $25,000. With the total at $75,000, the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund was on its way.

Cohen and his fellow donors had one caveat to their fundraising efforts: every single penny raised on behalf of the fund had to go directly to cancer research at the MGH. No money could be used for administrative or fundraising purposes. To that end, the organization has held an annual benefit in October that, to this day, consistently raises over $200,000. And, true to the founding donors’ pledge, every single penny goes directly to breast cancer research at the MGH.

Today, the Fund has grown to $5 million, and is able to support innovative breast cancer research programs, in perpetuity, under the direction of the talented Dr. Kenneth K. Tanabe at MGH. These include:

The Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) microchip technology enabling researchers to understand the process by which metastasis occurs.

The Surgical Oncology Breast Fellowship program selecting the best candidates from around the world and providing intensive surgical training in the diagnoses and treatment of patients with breast cancer and benign breast disease.

Developing and refining a new strategy that allows surgeons to determine that they have clean margins during a patient’s first surgery.

The development of web-based tools for accurately predicting the clinical outcome of individual breast cancer patients, as well as for accurately estimating the impact of various treatment choices on that outcome.

In 2008, the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund was honored as one of the one hundred extraordinary groups who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to cancer care and research at MGH. Recently, one of the fund’s long-time supporters and active committee members, Ellen Slater, was honored as one of the one hundred for her efforts on behalf of the fund, and in 2014 Susan Wornick was recognized as one of the one hundred for her efforts on behalf of the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund. In October of 2011, the fund was recognized for its cancer research endeavors at an unveiling of the new Donor Wall at the MGH, and in 2013 members of the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund were honored at the 4th Annual Community Fundraising Appreciation and Applause Reception at MGH.

The ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund remains committed to growing its endowment through Community Fundraising Events to further fund even more innovative and ground-breaking cancer research. Additionally, the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund has embarked on a mission to raise $2 million to establish an MGH Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology at MGH.  Dr. Tanabe, the man who has guided the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund since 1999, will be the inaugural incumbent of the ESSCO-Slater Family Chair in Surgical Oncology.

Dr. Tanabe has been a true partner with the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund and his leadership has been instrumental in all of its endeavors, ensuring the hard-raised dollars make the greatest possible impact. In addition to vetting innovative breast cancer research projects, Dr. Tanabe’s own research focuses on the reversal of cirrhosis and prevention of liver cancer, and the development of novel viral gene therapy agents for the treatment of primary liver tumors and liver metastases. Dr. Tanabe’s clinical practice focuses on melanoma and liver surgery. Once established, the ESSCO-Slater Family Chair in Surgical Oncology will support Dr. Tanabe’s research, teaching, and leadership activities.

When you weigh your charitable contribution dollars, please consider funding the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund and putting your hard-earned dollars to work for cancer research. Members of the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund are always eager to talk with individuals and organizations interested in working with them to raise funds on behalf of the fund.   All donations to the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund are tax deductible to the full extent of the law, as the fund falls under MGH’s 501c3 status.

If your organization would like to support the work of the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund and/or the ESSCO-Slater Family Chair in Surgical Oncology, please contact us at the address/telephone numbers below.  Here are the Community Fundraisers who have supported the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund to date:

Boston Estate Planning Council & Society of Financial Service Professionals Golf Tourney

Bass River Tennis Ladies’ Night Out Tennis Tourney

Bird Houses for Breast Cancer

Dress Down Day at Ernst & Young

Friends of Reading Tennis Tourney

Holiday Shopping Nights at Lotti Ta-Dah of Hudson, MA

Meadow Brook Women’s Golf Club Golf Tourney

Pingree Boys’ Hockey Team Hockey Tourney

Reading High School Girls Volleyball Tourney

Sharon Country Club Golf TourneyTake the Lake 5K

T-Shirts by Didi Fisher Weinreb

Wine Tastings by Colonial Spirits of Stow, MA

You can host an event on behalf of the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund  or donate directly by clicking the link above. To arrange a community fundraiser/third-party event or for additional information, please contact Missy Cohen-Fyffe or the MGH Development Office.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund and the ESSCO-Slater Family Chair in Surgical Oncology, and for helping to cure cancer in your lifetime.
ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund
c/o MGH Development Office
125 Nashua Street, Suite 540
Boston, MA 02114

Tel: 617-724-0170

 

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