The June 15 event at New York City’s Prince George Ballroom featured a keynote address by actress, activist and 17-year uterine cancer survivor Fran Drescher. It raised more than $125,000 for research grants, including a challenge grant from The Mary Haas Foundation of up to $50,000 in matching funds.
Drescher, best known for her Emmy award-winning starring role in the TV sitcom “The Nanny,” also moderated an expert discussion on ovarian cancer. Panelists included Dr. Kara Long Roche of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Leslie Boyd of NYU Langone Medical Center and ovarian cancer survivor Claudia Garza.
A major discussion point centered on how to shift focus away from the search for cancer cures, and toward cancer prevention and early detection to save lives.
“It’s your body; don’t give anyone power of attorney over it,” Drescher told reception attendees, according to a media release. “We are in a race against the clock to finally find a process for early-stage detection of this insidious disease. With the five-year survival rate at 27 percent for women diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian cancer, there is an urgent need for more medical and scientific research in this area.”
The reception organizers said the Mary Haas Foundation’s financial commitment and participation by Drescher — whose 2002 book, “Cancer Schmancer,” was a New York Times bestseller — helped make the 2017 Tina’s Wish Leadership Council Spring Reception a success. Given that 80 percent of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer at an advanced stage, when treatment is far less effective, it’s critical that researchers early means of detection.
Tina’s Wish was founded in 2008 in memory of Tina Brozman, former chief judge of the Southern District of New York Bankruptcy Court. She died in June 2007 at the age of 54, two years after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
According to the Tina’s Wish website, Brozman was not angry she had the disease, but that it had not been detected sooner. Aware it was too late to help herself, Brozman devoted the time she had left to saving other women’s lives, and laying the groundwork for the foundation that bears her name.