6/9/2013 11:23:00 AM Donors 'shake a fist' at cancer
Providence Health and Services photo
Dr. Walter Urba, patient Michelle Judson, and author Brian Doyle prepare to welcome 650 guests to the 15th annual Providence Cancer Center luncheon.
Cancer survivors and researchers shared the stage at Providence Cancer Center’s 15th annual luncheon May 15 at the Oregon Convention Center. The 650 guests showed their approval by raising more than $400,000 for research.
“Cancer is not for the faint of heart,” said Michelle Judson, a Portland mother of three who is battling stage 3 breast cancer with the help of Providence. “Something in you makes you want to stand up and fight. We live in an amazing time because of all the treatments that are available, and all that will become available through research.”
In the year since her diagnosis, Judson has undergone four surgeries, eight rounds of chemotherapy and a variety of other treatments. “I have had a soul-bending year, and I am still here,” she said.
Judson tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation – the same mutation affecting actress Angelina Jolie. This means Judson’s three young children are at risk for carrying the same mutation and facing cancers of the breast, ovaries and prostate.
She believes research at Providence Cancer Center will mean her children will never have to go through what she is experiencing with the disease.
Brian Doyle, luncheon keynote speaker and author, echoed Judson’s hope, challenging the crowd to help “buy minutes and hours and days” for cancer patients with a donation to cancer research. “There will be a time when kids don’t cry because mom or dad has cancer,” Doyle said. He urged the audience to “reach out and shake your fist at cancer.”
Dr. Walter Urba, a lead cancer researcher at Providence, explained to the crowd that everyone faces a better future today than they did 15 years ago when Providence held the first cancer luncheon. He noted early cancer research work is often financed solely through philanthropy – and that investment is paying off with new therapies that give more time to advanced stage cancer patients.