Polo Cup Held To Raise Money For Breast Cancer

June 16, 2007

The skies may have been a little gray Saturday, but the Pink Ribbon Polo Cup brightened up the day. The breast cancer fundraiser took place at the King Family Vineyards in Crozet.

Pink, the official color of the fight against breast cancer, unified everyone wanting to help find a cure for the deadly disease.

Every three minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. Money raised by Saturday's fundraiser will be divided and given to the two local hospitals with breast care units.

"In the past, I think the proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. This year, they were trying to find a way to keep the money local so that it would most benefit people in the Charlottesville community," said Julie Speasmaker.

Speasmaker is a cancer survivor and co-director of Patients and Friends, a local group of cancer survivors associated with the UVa Health System who want to help in the fight by funding research for a cure.

"We support the ideas in their infancy," said Meredith Gunter of Patients and Friends.

Often, federal money and big investors won't fund a new idea until it's well tested, but with the help of Patients and Friends and local investors, new treatments can get underway in our backyard.

"So the real breakthrough ideas, the ones that are going to change the way we do everything, are seen as too risky by a lot of investors, but private investors can make all the difference in the world in funding those new ideas," said Gunter.

One of those new ideas is a vaccine. It's a type of new treatment for breast cancer that's an alternative to chemotherapy. So far, the vaccine has proven to be less toxic, and patients will only suffer from flu-like symptoms.

There is no word yet on how much money was raised this year, but the goal was to exceed last year's total of $100,000.

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