Behind the Cause - Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation

Behind the Cause

Edith Sanford

Who was Edith?

Edith Sanford was an ordinary woman — a wife and mom of two young boys — whose extraordinary love for her family left a powerful legacy. When breast cancer took her life in 1940, it sparked something in her young son Denny — an enduring resolve to help find the cures so that other children wouldn’t have to grow up like he did, without the irreplaceable love of a mother.

Through Denny’s vision, the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation was officially launched in 2012 as a catalyst for innovation and transformational change in the way we approach breast cancer.

And thanks to his philanthropic generosity, which covers our operating expenses, every dollar raised by the Foundation is invested in smart, innovative genomics research to help end this devastating disease. Faster.

What sets us apart?


  • We will advance genomics research to dramatically improve breast cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship.
  • We will conduct the research, collaborate with others and share our findings.
  • We will be the first to drive knowledge into communities through personalized genomics, raising the standard of care everywhere for breast cancer treatment and prevention.

The results of these efforts will ultimately empower providers and patients with tools and education to improve outcomes and reduce suffering.

Sanford Health: our partner in patient care and research

By leveraging the resources and vast patient network of Sanford Health, our partner in patient care and research, Edith Sanford is uniquely positioned to accelerate lifesaving discoveries from the lab to the clinic, and into communities. Sanford Health is the largest rural, nonprofit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in nine states and in countries such as Ghana, Africa.

Sanford Health has been in service for more than 100 years and includes 39 hospitals, 225 clinic locations and nearly 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 26,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota.