Women Supporting Women: ASCO Members Unite at Events for Women Who Conquer Cancer

Mar 09, 2022

Nearly 20% of funds raised for Women Who Conquer Cancer (WWCC), the network created by Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, to fund grants and establish a professional network for women researchers, come from small, typically in-home events. 
“The research funding WWCC provides comes at such a critical point for women receiving the Young Investigator Award (YIA) and the Career Development Award (CDA) grants. It can be life-changing for these new physician-scientists who are caring for patients while also managing the demands of their careers,” said Christina M. Annunziata, MD, PhD, who will co-host her seventh annual WWCC fundraiser in fall 2022.  “I have been lucky to have found colleagues and leaders throughout my career who have provided me with support and encouragement to continue my path. Finding support—both logistically and financially—to stay in research at this critical juncture is essential to foster women leaders in oncology.” 
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when most gatherings were held virtually, WWCC volunteers continued connecting their communities to grow awareness and raise funds for WWCC. The events allow hosts, who are mostly physicians and survivors, to introduce their family, friends, and colleagues to Conquer Cancer, WWCC, and the ways they can help elevate women in science. Donors invest in the brightest women in cancer research, while also supporting patients in need of better cancer care. 
One of the largest events supporting WWCC is the Women Leaders in Oncology (WLO) reception, an annual Chicago event hosted by Vaniam Group during the ASCO Annual Meeting.  
“Every year I’m more inspired by this growing and generous network we’re building and the impact women around the world are making for the oncology community and for each other,” said Deanna B. van Gestel, a Conquer Cancer Board member. Ms. van Gestel is the chief executive officer and founder of Vaniam Group and WLO, which has committed to raising $1.35 million within the next 5 years for cancer research and supports an annual WWCC YIA grant. “Although our WLO event was virtual in 2021, our community of more than 400 women leaders attended and funded a Young Investigator Award, as well as contributing to an endowed WLO YIA. The event is an evening of celebration, inspiration, and philanthropy, one of the most anticipated nights of the year for the WLO community.”
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