Super Cure project makes huge push this weekend
Indianapolis' Super Bowl city status extends further than just the big game. Organizers hope a Super Bowl-related event being held Saturday will lead to a cure for breast cancer.
This weekend, 700 women are donating breast tissue samples at the IU Simon Cancer Center. The goal is to save the lives of thousands of women affected by breast cancer.
"This is an incredible day for us," said donor Lisa Miller. "It's incredible to watch so many people give such a personal part of themselves for research and that is what we need."
"The slots for donating tissue were filled in 90 minutes," said Allison Melangton, Indianapolis Host Committee.
Nearly half the appointments were filled by minorities, a key goal of the campaign. The Super Bowl Host Committee has been actively recruiting minority women to join the legacy Super Cure project, which collects breast tissue from healthy women.
"All disease, it seems like so many of them have different patterns in minority communities. The disease progresses differently, so we need studies that include us, so that the cures and the things they find will be beneficial to us," said donor Deborah Hearn Smith.
London researchers came to learn from the Super Cure.
"I think what is happening here is completely unique. There is nowhere where it is possible to get a hold of normal breast tissue to compare to breast cancer and that is absolutely essential if we are going to find a cure for this disease," said Dr. Louise Jones. "So I think it is unique and hugely important."
The organizers show them that it works, because here, women are willing and volunteers are committed. More than 600 volunteers in total this weekend were busy taking and processing blood samples. It's volunteers who prepare the precious samples for storage in the Komen Tissue Bank.
"It's very impressive. It is running like clockwork and we are hugely impressed," Jones said.
The goal now is for those who have donated to share their experience.
"I'm a little scaredy cat. I didn't want a needle, but it was perfect, didn't hurt at all. A little pinch, a little pressure, but it didn't hurt," said Charlitta Winston of Indianapolis.
The Super Bowl spotlight helped fuel Saturday's surge, the next task is how to keep the momentum going.
"We know through this effort, the cure for breast cancer is coming out of Indiana," said Dr. Monet Bowling.
The Komen Tissue Bank holds several tissue collection events each year. The next two in Indianapolis will be held on March 10th and November 3rd. Appointments for those dates will open a couple of weeks before the event.