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The Journal Gazette

  • IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess joins Vera Bradley co-founders Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, left, and Patricia R. Miller at Monday's 25th annual classic.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018 1:00 am

That much closer to a cure

If Vera Bradley is synonymous with brightly colored bags, the Vera Bradley Foundation is synonymous with the battle against breast cancer. A victory in that fight appears a bit closer with news Monday of a new IU School of Medicine breast cancer research center and another $1 million-plus year for fundraising by the foundation.

The former announcement comes from the university, which will establish the Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research in Indianapolis. Its focus will be a cure for triple-negative breast cancer, a form of the disease that is aggressive, fast-spreading and disproportionately affects younger women and black women.

“While we have made major strides in the treatment of breast cancer, far too many women still die from this disease, and others endure long-lasting side effects from treatments,” said Dr. Jay L. Hess, dean of IU School of Medicine. “With the establishment of this center, we are putting a big stake in the ground and redoubling our efforts to find solutions for these women.

 “No one has done more to support breast cancer research in our state than the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, and I cannot imagine a more fitting namesake for our center.”

About 30 current IU researchers will be housed at the new center, which will add four more senior researchers and a director.

The Vera Bradley Foundation had pledged $2.5 million to establish an endowment for the new center; IU will match the amount through its bicentennial fund. The medical school is committing another $2.5 million for a total endowment of $7.5 million.

Fundraising through the foundation's annual golf and tennis Classic, the largest amateur women's golf and tennis charity tournament in the country, was bolstered this year with the addition of a new event at Freimann Square, Pink Yoga. About 150 participants joined in an hour of professional yoga instruction.

The two-day Classic has proved itself a fundraising success story; the fruits of its fundraising undoubtedly will prove a successful part of a breast cancer cure.