What to do with $1.05m? Thanks to BCRFA, UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center gets to decide.

BCRFA and O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center
BCRFA and O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center
(l-r) Beth Bradner Davis, Executive Director of the BCRFA; Jill Carter, President of the BCRFA Board of Directors; and Barry Sleckman, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. Yes, that check says $1,050,000. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Last week as the rest of Birmingham was getting ready for Saturday’s stormy weather, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA) donated a total of $1,050,000 to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB and researchers at CerFlux, the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute and Southern Research Institute.

Keep reading to find out more about BCRFA and their incredible work to advance breast cancer research in Alabama.

1. Over the last 24 years, BCRFA has invested almost $10m in breast cancer research at UAB.

BCRFA award ceremony
It’s not every day you get a check for $1,050,000 at the end of your first week on the job, but new O’Neal Cancer Center Director Barry Sleckman, M.D., Ph.D. can now check that one off the list. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Never doubt the power of people who’ve been affected by a life-altering illness to make a difference for all who follow behind them. Here’s what BCRFA does to enable them to invest serious money in breast cancer research:

Bikers for breast cancer research.
“Tough guys wear pink” at Revvin’ 4 Research, which raised more than $14k this year. Photo via BCRFA’s Facebook page.
  • Events! These happen year-round and they’re community-driven, organization-organized. Because who doesn’t know someone who’s been affected by breast cancer?
  • Sales of breast cancer research license plates. I was stunned to learn that sales of these generated more than $500,000 in the last year alone. That’s not pocket change.
BCRFA car tag
You, too, could support breast cancer research in Alabama. Graphic via BCRFA’s Facebook page.

2 The $1.05m was BCRFA’s largest donation to date, and went to some worthy recipients.

CerFlux was awarded a donation from BCRFA.
CerFlux also got an award for their research. (l-r) Christopher M. Krebs, CFO of CerFlux; Beth Bradner Davis, ED of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama; Dr. Lisa W. Johnson, COO of CerFlux and Dr. Karim Budhwani, CEO of CerFlux. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

It’s kind of dizzying to look at all the good work this sizable donation was able to fund. Here are the very broadest brushstrokes:

  • 7 fully funded projects
  • 7 projects that received partial grants or second-year funding
  • BCRFA Endowed Professorship

Many, but not all, of the projects are affiliated with the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. Other recipients included CerFlux, Southern Research Institute and USA Mitchell Cancer Institute. All of the research happens in Alabama, and many of the researchers collaborate with each other.

Talk about helping to create an ecosystem where good things can happen . . .

Here’s what Barry Sleckman, M.D., Ph.D., the new Director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB had to say about the award:

“Without the significant support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, we simply wouldn’t have a leading breast cancer research program that brings so many important, cutting-edge scientific discoveries to the patients of this state.”

3. It took a village to get here.

Firefighters at BCRFA lunch.
Firefighters fight breast cancer, too. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

These are just a few of the efforts that helped BCRFA be able to make such a generous donation:

  • City of Gardendale’s annual Charity Bowl Youth Football Tournament: more than $6000.
  • Cahaba Brewery’s CahabaQue: more than $26,000.
  • Jefferson County residents registered for 2,400 Breast Cancer Research car tags: more than $99,000.
  • Statewide, over 13,000 vehicles in Alabama have Breast Cancer Research car tags: more than $500,000. 100% of tag sale proceeds go to research.
BCRFA presents check to O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center
Recipients of the 2019 BCRFA Pilot Grant Awards surround Barry Sleckman, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB; Beth Bradner Davis, Executive Director of the BCRFA; and Jill Carter, President of the BCRFA Board of Directors as they hold a check for $1,050,000 that was presented to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. Photo courtesy of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.

If you want to help support BCRFA’s efforts, order a car tag or find out how to get involved at bcrfa.org.

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference