UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center to Receive $170,000

San Diego, CA – The Vision of Children Foundation (VOC) will present UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center with a $170,000 check to aid in research on rare and aggressive breast cancer. The money represents half of the funds raised at a Holiday High Tea event that featured Ann Romney as the keynote speaker. VOC is using the other half to bolster its research on finding cures for hereditary vision disorders. The check will be presented on May 27, 2014 at 3 p.m. at Moores Cancer Center. Media should check in at the security desk in the lobby.

The survival rate for patients with rare and aggressive breast cancer is less than 50 percent over five years. Certain dormant tumor cells hidden in the body can metastasize, or spread, even years after the successful removal of a breast tumor. Such tumor dormancy in breast cancer remains poorly understood, thus presenting challenges to both experimental investigation and clinical management of breast cancer. Moores Cancer Center will direct the funds to research being conducted by Jing Yang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Pediatrics at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who hopes to uncover the signaling pathways that control breast tumor metastasis during dormancy.

“Funding transformative research, like that of Dr. Yang, will lead to breakthroughs in cancer care that will help us save the lives of loved ones right here in San Diego and around the world,” said Scott M. Lippman, MD, Director of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “At a time when there are fewer dollars available for cancer research, community support like that of Vision of Children is helping us to continue to move leading-edge research from the bench to the bedside.”

More than 600 guests attended the holiday fundraiser, called “Visions of Success – From Research to Reality,” at the Grand Del Mar on December 9, 2013. Romney, a breast cancer survivor, health advocate and dedicated supporter of vision health, spoke about the critical need for medical research to cure breast cancer and vision diseases. The event was spearheaded by VOC’s Co-Founder Vivian Hardage and Wanda Garner. Garner, a cancer workshop facilitator and philanthropic fundraiser, and her husband, biotech leader, Cam Garner, are strong supporters of medical research efforts in San Diego.

Hardage conceived the joint fundraiser as a way to raise awareness about the importance of medical research to find cures for breast cancer and genetic eye disorders, two causes that hit particularly close to her heart. She and her husband, Sam Hardage, founded VOC in 1991, after their son Chase was diagnosed with ocular albinism type 1. She is a three-time breast-cancer survivor who worked closely with the American Cancer Society to ensure that the funds would be used by a San Diego research institution. “I’ve personally experienced the quality of care and witnessed the caliber of the research at Moores Cancer Center,” she said. “We are thrilled to be able to contribute to such a worthy institution. Research, such as that being performed by Dr. Yang, is critical to finding a cure.”

The event was underwritten by Title Sponsor Papa Doug Manchester, real estate developer and publisher of the U-T San Diego. Other key sponsors included: Midway Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge and Ram; Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels; Life Technologies; Dr. Seuss Fund at the San Diego Foundation; and Fashion Valley.

The following people are expected to attend the check presentation on May 27:

  • Wanda Garner, Co-Chair, Visions of Success
  • Samuel A. Hardage, Chairman, Vision of Children Foundation
  • Vivian L. Hardage, Co-Chair, Visions of Success
  • Andria Kinnear – Executive Director, Vision of Children Foundation
  • Dr. Scott M. Lippman, Director, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • Papa Doug Manchester, Publisher
  • Dr. Barbara Parker, Deputy Director for Clinical Affairs, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • Jennifer Berg Sobotka – Vice President, Corporate and Distinguished Partners, American Cancer Society California Division
  • Dr. Jing Yang, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Pediatrics, UC San Diego Researcher at Moores Cancer Center

Established in 1991, the Vision of Children Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to curing hereditary childhood blindness and other vision disorders, and improving the quality of life of visually impaired children and their families www.visionofchildren.org

Established in 1978, the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is one of just 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, and the only one in the San Diego region. Such centers are prominent among the leading institutions in the nation dedicated to scientific innovation and clinical excellence. This designation is reserved for centers with the highest achievements in cancer research, clinical care, education and community contributions. Studies show that outcomes are better at NCI-designated centers. www.cancer.ucsd.edu