As December draws to a close, I find myself—as I’m sure many of you do as well—reflecting upon all that the year has brought and all that I hope for in the year ahead.

Of course, I’ve had my share of “How will I get through this?” moments. Who doesn’t? But mostly I find myself thinking about and feeling grateful for the landmark year the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation has had. We raised more money from our supporters this year than we ever have before, telling us that you are excited by the work we are doing. We have been chosen for two large competitive peer reviewed grants, validating the novel research approach we are following. And our website traffic continues to grow, demonstrating how many people see us as a trusted source for information about breast cancer, menopause, and other women’s health issues.

This tremendous success is in no small part due to the generous contributions and continuous support we receive from our donors, our wonderful volunteers who participate in our studies and are the stars of our research program, and our staff who work tirelessly to go beyond a cure and eradicate breast cancer.

It’s hard to believe, but as I was writing this letter, our year got even better! The Foundation just received the largest private donation in our history—a $1 million dollar gift to establish The Erin Daniels and Leisha Hailey Fund for Breast Cancer. In addition, the donor, who has chosen to remain anonymous, intends to match dollar for dollar every donation made to the fund. The entire fund will be used to advance the Foundation’s innovative research program that aims to end breast cancer in our lifetime.

Take a look at our progress:

In 2007, the Foundation received more than $2 million dollars in research grants
The Foundation received a $1.2 million dollar grant from the Avon Foundation to support “The Development of a Breast Fluid Test to Identify Women at Risk for Breast Cancer.” The goal of this groundbreaking project is to develop an inexpensive and easy-to-use band-aid-like test strip that can assess whether a premenopausal woman is at risk for developing breast cancer. We also received an $850,000 grant from the California Breast Cancer Research Program to study “The Effect of Intraductal Therapy in Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS).” Since DCIS is completely contained in one ductal system, we have proposed treating it directly by putting a low dose of chemotherapy directly into the duct. Our goal is to eliminate surgery for this condition while successfully treating the precancerous condition. Both of these studies are considered “high risk” because they are charting new ways to approach breast cancer. And when you try something new, you don’t know if you’ll succeed. But I’d much rather fail trying something new, then never push forward on new possibilities. I have dreamed of doing these studies for years, and I’m thrilled that we have begun!

5th International Symposium on the Intraductal Approach to Breast Cancer
In March, more than 130 researchers arrived in Santa Monica, California, to attend our biennial symposium on the intraductal approach. Attendees came from all over the world, including China, Japan, Australia, the UK, and Italy, as well as throughout the United States. The Symposium provided an opportunity for the most prominent scientists in the field to present and discuss their work and to forge the new collaborations that will move the field forward. The Symposium is also the venue at which the Foundation awards its pilot grants. This year, more than $100,000 was distributed to 12 enthusiastic and qualified researchers interested in the intraductal approach.

The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Website
The Foundation’s website is widely recognized as one of the leading resources for information on breast cancer, menopause, and women’s health. This year, our traffic grew to the point where we were receiving more than two million hits per month from individuals looking for the accurate, up-to-date information they needed to make critical decisions about their breast cancer treatment or to address other health concerns. This year, we also launched our new blog Health Watch , creating a space for our site visitors to discuss the latest women’s health news with one another and the Foundation staff.

What would I like to see in the year ahead? Here are my three goals:

Expanding our current fluid and tissue bank in order to collaborate with more researchers
Virtually every week we get requests from researchers at other institutions who would like to collaborate with us and have access to ductal fluid and tissue samples. By purchasing new equipment and expanding our fluid bank, we will be able work with more researchers on the innovative studies that will help us eradicate breast cancer.

Enlarging our training program for future breast cancer researchers
I’m incredibly proud of the research training program we provide to visiting foreign doctors, premed students, and high school interns. I would like to see this program grow in the upcoming year so that we can increase the number of young physicians and researchers who, by working with us, receive unique insights into the role the intraductal approach can play in breast cancer prevention and treatment.

Increasing our funding for the “wild ideas”
At the Foundation, we don’t want to leave any stones unturned in our search to eradicate breast cancer, which is why we focus on innovation and wild ideas. This makes us different from most funders, who invest a lot of money on doing the same breast cancer treatments better. By establishing a Wild Idea fund, we will be able to explore more “wild” approaches, fund more pilot grants, and collaborate with other “wild” researchers.

Please join me in our fight to eradicate breast cancer with a year-end contribution to the Foundation. Invest in the “wild” ideas, and share our dream of a world without breast cancer. It can be done—with vision, energy and resources.

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