After raising $200,000 at its fourth annual breakfast last year, Atlanta’s A Cure in Our Lifetime is aiming even higher for its fifth. Co-chairs Jennifer Fink and Jody Goldstein set their sights on $250,000 for the March 11 breakfast at Cherokee Town & Country Club.
The pair spoke to the AJT about the organization and its role in supporting breast cancer research.
“Jen and I are really passionate about giving 100 percent of our proceeds to breast cancer research, and A Cure in our Lifetime had a chapter in Chappaqua, N.Y., where Jen had lived and she’d participated in it,” Goldstein said. “We decided we’d bring that to Atlanta.”
Goldstein herself is a seven-year survivor, and Fink’s mother, a 19-year survivor. Making research the sole focus, they’ve raised over $500,000 in the past four years with steady growth each year.
This year’s beneficiaries are the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Glenn Family Breast Center at Emory Winship Cancer Institute.
“From day one, we want 50 percent of the money to stay in Georgia,” Fink said. “It’s really important that we support research here locally. … Winship is making such strides in breast cancer research and we’re so proud to have that in Georgia.”
The other half goes to BCRF, which has been a partner since the event’s beginning, and which the duo says supports some of the most promising research on a national level.
As for what makes the breakfast special, Fink explained that everyone in the room has some personal connection to breast cancer.
“With a statistic like one in eight women having breast cancer, either most women are either a survivor themselves or they know someone going through it or who has been through it,” she said. “Everyone has a connection to the disease. We aim to keep it positive and support the ongoing research.”
Past keynote speakers include Amy Robach from “Good Morning America,” and authors Amy Silverstein, Annie Parker and Geralyn Lucas. This year, Dr. Elizabeth Comen from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will deliver the keynote speech.
“We really want to focus on the advancements that have happened in research in the last five years, and often five years marks a significant milestone for a breast cancer survivor,” Fink said. “For us, it’s our fifth-year anniversary and that’s exciting, … so we want to celebrate that milestone.”
The past few years have also featured remarks from a local survivor. This year’s speaker is Jamie Dean, who lost her mother to breast cancer months before finding out she herself was diagnosed.
Laine Kilburn was the survivor who spoke at the third breakfast, an event that moved her to become even more involved with the organization.
“Jen had invited me to the first breakfast, but I had just been diagnosed and wasn’t ready to go,” Kilburn said. “I was invited to speak at the third and thought, ‘I don’t know if I can do that,’ but they helped me to write my story down and I ended up speaking at the breakfast.”
What stands out in Kilburn’s mind is the informative nature of the breakfast.
“I think having someone who can come in and explain the research and the trials and show where the money we’re raising is going makes it really special. And you have a group of people there who have all been touched by breast cancer in some way, and the common goal is so powerful.”
A Cure in Our Lifetime is an entirely volunteer-run organization, and Fink emphasized the mission of supporting groundbreaking research locally and around the world.
“Because we have very low overhead, we can dictate 100 percent of where the money goes,” Goldstein said. “With our executive board we make all decisions as a group and get to be very thoughtful on where it goes and what we support.”
To purchase tickets for the fifth annual A Cure in our Lifetime spring breakfast, visit atlantacure.org/donate. Sponsorships are also available.