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The one hundred honoree: Breast Cancer Alliance

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Breast Cancer Alliance

Mass General Giving

In 2016, the Breast Cancer Alliance (BCA) celebrated its 20th anniversary and surpassed the $20 million mark in grant awards. However, both numbers understate the impact of this regional foundation with a national reach.

Founded in 1996 by Mary Waterman, who died a year later from breast cancer, BCA has become one of the most prominent breast cancer organizations in the U.S. Its mission is to improve survival rates and quality of life through better prevention, early detection, treatment and cure. To promote those goals, the Greenwich, Connecticut-based organization provides seed money, scientific venture capital, for leading-edge breast cancer research programs that have not yet qualified for federal grants. It also funds post-graduate fellowships in breast surgery and allocates 25% of its funding annually to support access to breast health care for underserved women.

“BCA grants support the training of breast surgeons at top SSO-accredited institutions and help launch young scientists’ careers, including some at Mass General,” says nominator Lisa Walsh, NP. “These new, talented surgeons take their training to underserved areas of the country, further improving survival rates. BCA also funds screening for underinsured women.”

“I received a BCA Exceptional Project Grant in 2015 to investigate a DNA repair pathway that may lead to an effective new therapeutic target relevant to between 50-75% of all breast cancers,” says Lee Zou, PhD, associate scientific director at the Mass General Cancer Center. “Because this is brand-new research ground, without this funding my lab would not be able to pursue this avenue of discovery.”