Gift of Hope ME STRONG Award

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Patient donation funds research prize

Thanks to the generosity of cervical cancer survivor Linda Ryan, SGO’s Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology has created a $15,000 ME STRONG Young Investigator’s Award to develop innovative approaches to understanding cervical cancer biology, and factors that affect its natural history. The award is open to full, candidate, associate or fellow members who have belonged to SGO for a minimum of two years.

Ryan’s nonprofit organization, ME STRONG of Deland, FL, made the first donation to the Foundation’s Gift of Hope program, which offers patients a vehicle for contributing to research in gynecologic oncology. She was inspired to fund research after participating in a clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, for patients with recurrent cervical cancer.

Linda’s gynecologic oncologist at MD Anderson, Shannon Westin, MD, appreciates what can be accomplished with these funds.

“There is a huge opportunity for growth in gynecologic cancers,” said Dr. Westin. “Research dollars will make the difference. There are opportunities for prevention, raising awareness of symptoms and signs, as well as improving treatment of these deadly diseases.”

Dr. Westin added that Linda’s example can be an inspiration for other gynecologic cancer patients.

“Linda is an incredibly driven person. She tackled her cancer treatment head on and wanted to get the most potential benefit while still helping others,” she said. “After her amazing response to treatment, she didn’t stop giving back. The organization she created has raised thousands of dollars for cancer research that will serve to benefit others.”

Linda said that during her treatment for cervical cancer, she trusted Dr. Westin to inform her about important research projects and clinical trials that were in progress.

“I know that certainly helped me,” said Linda, who has had no evidence of disease since March 15, 2012. “I might not be here if it weren’t for the research that’s being done.”

For inquiries about the Gift of Hope program, direct questions to Karen Carlson at karen.carlson@sgo.org.