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Cancer Link Celebrates 30 Years of Support for Breast Cancer Research at Sylvester

Thirty years ago, Marlene Berg founded Cancer Link with a small group of women to increase awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for research. Since then, the all-volunteer nonprofit has raised nearly $3 million to support Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Cancer Link presidents, from left, Norma Jean Abraham, Iliette Oliveros, Mary Rosenberg, Barbara Berg, Diane Madden, Marlene Berg, Susan Kaufman, Bonnie Sepe, Harriet Shapiro, and Ivette Martin-Sarol.

“We are all grateful for the great care provided by Sylvester’s medical team, and proud to support their research,” said Berg, who received a special award at the “Celebrate 30” Cancer Link luncheon on December 8 at the Hilton Miami Downtown. More than 600 women and men attended the annual luncheon, which was hosted by Marybel Rodriguez, CBS4 News anchor and reporter, and featured a fashion show by Julian Chang, and a special performance by singer Judy Scott.

Noting that the dynamics of breast cancer have changed in the past 30 years, Berg said, “This disease is affecting women at a younger age, and men as well. There have been tremendous advances in surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but we still have a long way to go.”

Adam E. Carlin, managing director and senior portfolio management director at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, and Chair of the Sylvester Board of Governors, thanked the Cancer Link members for this generous support.  “Your dollars have made an incredible difference in the lives of cancer patients,” he said.

At the luncheon, breast cancer survivor Felicia Marie Knaul, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, and director of the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, inspired attendees with her remarks. “Every morning, we should look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we are beautiful inside and out,” said Knaul, who is married to University of Miami President Julio Frenk. “It’s all about believing in ourselves as women.”

Knaul noted that breast cancer mortality has plummeted by 40 percent in the U.S. in the past 25 years. “The scientists and clinicians who are here today are helping to improve diagnosis and treatment, and will continue to make an impact throughout the world,” she said.

Founded in 1987, Cancer Link is dedicated to the eradication of breast cancer through research, education, early detection and community outreach at the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. In the past year, Cancer Link has provided grants to eight Sylvester researchers:

  • Karoline Briegel, Ph.D., for breast cancer and metastatic breast disease on the molecular level
  • Richard Cote, M.D., for detection and characterization of micrometastases
  • Sophia George, Ph.D., for early carcinogenesis of high-grade serious carcinoma
  • Tan Ince, M.D., Ph.D., for the role of cell-of-origin in determining tumor phenotype
  • Marc Lippman, M.D., who is bridging the gap between basic tumor biology and clinical applications
  • Diana Lopez, M.D., for deficiencies in the tumor environment
  • Joyce Slingerland, M.D., Ph.D., for molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and hormone effects on the cell cycle
  • Danny Yakoub, M.D., Ph.D., for studies of metabolic profiles and other topics

Reflecting on the role of Cancer Link in her own breast cancer journey, attorney Cheryl Ettelman, the daughter of Marlene Berg, said, “Everyone was so supportive at the first luncheon I attended after my diagnosis and treatment. This is a truly a community, and we welcome other breast cancer survivors and their families to join Cancer Link and support our mission.”












Tags: Cancer Link, Felicia Marie Knaul, Marlene Berg, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center