Q: What is the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation?
A: The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that is pioneering a bold new comprehensive approach to breast cancer, with a mission to unlock each woman’s genetic code, advance today’s prevention and treatment, and end breast cancer for future generations.
Q:What is Sanford Health?
A: Sanford Health is the patient care and research partner of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, and the largest rural, nonprofit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities, in nine states. In addition, this dynamic integrated health system is now developing international clinics in Ghana, Israel and Mexico.
Sanford Health has been in service for more than 100 years and includes 39 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and nearly 1,360 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 26,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota.
Sanford Health is the home of Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research, where the application of genomic research is blazing the trail to finding the cures for breast cancer, faster.
Q: Who was Edith Sanford?
A: Edith was a young wife and mother of two boys—just toddlers. She was vibrant and loving and full of plans for her growing family. But all that changed the day she found out she had breast cancer. It didn’t take long for the disease to ravage her body. She spent the last year of her life in a hospital bed…clinging to the hope that she’d watch her sons grow up. She didn’t get the chance.
In 2010, entrepreneur Denny Sanford, Edith’s son, chose to honor his mother’s legacy by providing the generous gift that launched the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation and that enables the Foundation to invest 100% of donations into cutting-edge genomics research to find the cures.
Q: Why/How was the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation founded?
A: Entrepreneur Denny Sanford lost his young mother, Edith, to breast cancer when he was only four years old. One of his life’s goals is to end breast cancer so that children will not have to grow up like he did, without the love and guidance of their mothers.
In 2010, Denny made a transformational gift that launched the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. This funding supports Edith Sanford’s operating expenses so that every penny of every contribution will be directly invested in cutting-edge research to find the cures to breast cancer, faster.
Q: What distinguishes Edith Sanford from other organizations raising funds for breast cancer research?
A: Edith Sanford is pursuing breakthrough genomics research to identify specific treatments that will work best or prevent the disease on an individual basis, and ultimately eradicate breast cancer for future generations. We can ensure that contributions are wisely used because we work directly with the physicians and researchers performing this innovative research rather than awarding grants to outside labs or institutions.
Our approach is unique in several important ways:
We will study the entire spectrum of the human genome in order to identify changes in DNA that are associated with breast cancer.
We are leading the way toward a new standard of care that integrates genomics into patient care—using each patient’s unique genetic profile to deliver meaningful treatment options.
We are positioned to become a hub for the most brilliant scientific minds of our time to use the most innovative tools and technology and infrastructure in the country.
We are able to take advantage of our biobank—an extensive repository of critical blood and tissue samples from volunteers of all ages and backgrounds—that will give researchers across the country ready access to genomic information needed to better understand the interplay of genes and genetic changes that can cause different forms of breast cancer, contribute to the progression of the disease and/or resistance to treatment. The biobank helps speed the research process because it saves researchers precious time they would otherwise have to spend receiving IRB approval, finding the patients and extracting and cataloging the samples on their own.
We believe that a woman becomes a survivor the moment she is diagnosed with breast cancer, and we recognize that surviving the disease is a lifelong journey. Through the Embrace® survivorship program, Edith Sanford provides breast cancer survivors with much-needed information and guidance, support that doesn’t end just because the treatment has.
We are committed to accelerating discoveries to patients, becoming the first health system to bring forward genomics into communities.
Q: What is the meaning behind the Edith Sanford symbol and logo?
A: The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation is represented by a double helix logo that symbolizes our mission in three special ways. The double helix signifies our commitment to advancing genomics research. If you look closely, you’ll also notice that one strand of the helix is depicted as a pink ribbon, the iconic symbol of breast cancer awareness, and that it also forms an “S,” in honor of our research and patient care partner, Sanford Health.
Q: What is a biobank?
A: A cornerstone of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation is our biobank—an extensive repository of critical blood and tissue samples from volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, including those with no personal or family history of breast cancer. This biobank can give researchers across the country easy access to the genomic information found in human DNA to better understand the interplay of genes and genetic changes that can lead to different breast cancers, and/or contribute to progression of the disease and/or resistance to treatment.
Researchers may also look at other changes in the DNA that might explain why two individuals respond differently to treatments for the same type of cancer. By observing how genetic changes can affect outcomes, it may be possible to tailor treatment plans to a particular person; thus making “personalized medicine” possible.
The biobank is housed in a 1,600-square-foot laboratory at the Sanford Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. It also boasts a robotic processing system that is one of only two similar systems being used around the globe.
Q: Why is the biobank important?
A: The biobank will save researchers precious time by providing ready access to collected blood and tissue samples so that immediate decoding and testing can happen. This will enable Edith Sanford to move faster into clinical trials, where researchers can study the connection between molecular information and the way each individual responds. Without the biobank, a researcher needing specific samples would need many months to gain IRB approval, find the patients and extract and catalogue the samples.
Q: What does 100% to the cure™ mean?
A: Thanks to a generous gift from entrepreneur Denny Sanford that covers our operating expenses, 100% of every penny of every dollar contributed is directly invested in our cutting-edge research to end breast cancer.
Denny never knew his mother because she died of breast cancer when he was just four years old. With the wish for no more children to have their mothers taken from them by breast cancer, he made this extraordinary gift to initiate the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation and enable us to focus our efforts on finding the cures to the disease.
Q: Is my contribution tax deductible?
A: The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
Q: Why isn’t there more information about the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation on sites like Charity Navigator or Guidestar?
A: The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation is a new endeavor, which is why there is limited information available on these sites.
Q: Does Edith Sanford provide financial support for patients?
A: The financial toll of breast cancer can be terrible, and our hope is that, one day, breast cancer and the burdens it causes will be history. That’s why, at the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, the funds we raise go 100 percent to the research to find the cures.
While providing direct financial assistance to those facing breast cancer is not within the scope of Edith Sanford’s mission, Sanford Health, our partner in patient care and research, may be able to assist eligible patients seeking care within the Sanford network with obtaining financial support.