ASCO Remembers Patient Advocate Karen Durham

Mar 29, 2018

ASCO and the oncology community mourn the loss of Karen Durham, who passed away on March 26, 2018, in Tyler, Texas. Karen was a highly respected and beloved advocate for people living with cancer.

Karen was diagnosed with stage II invasive breast cancer in 1989 and began volunteering with Susan G. Komen soon after. Her advocacy with Komen began as a Race for the Cure volunteer but evolved to serving as a Komen Advocate in Science and a Komen Scholar. In the latter two roles, she participated in the peer review process for research programs, and as an ambassador for the importance of and need for cancer research.

In 2009, Karen was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic disease and her advocacy only increased. In 2014, she joined the CancerLinQ Patient Advisory Committee, which oversees ASCO’s initiative to develop a learning health system in cancer care. During her tenure on the committee, Karen helped guide the development of the CancerLinQ® platform by providing her perspective and knowledge. In addition, she participated in the first CancerLinQ Patient Advocate Forum in 2015, sharing her experience with her fellow patient advocates and discussing how future care could be improved using the CancerLinQ platform.

Karen was a member of ASCO, the Research Advocacy Network, Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance Information Task Force, and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. She was also active in the First United Methodist Church in Lindale, Texas.

Karen worked for 26 years for the Federal Aviation Administration at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, before retiring as a Nav-Com Tower Chief in 1995. She is survived by her husband of 22 years, Tom, and daughter, Tina Sterling.

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