Dominating the sport of dragon boat racing is not enough for the WonderBroads of Windsor-Essex — the breast cancer survivors also want to help find a cure for cancer. That is why the group is donating to the WE-Spark Health Institute and to University of Windsor cancer research.
Sandi Shoust is with the group committed to wellness and the belief that there is life after breast cancer. She says the women want to contribute back to the community and give as much as they can to research, to give women hope beyond breast cancer surgery.
“We are competitive team, we’ve won many medals and travel all over Ontario and Europe, but besides that we stand for a cure,” says Shoust.
WE-Spark Health Institute director Lisa Porter, a UWindsor biomedical sciences professor and cancer researcher, knows first-hand the importance of patients in raising funds for and being involved directly in research projects.
Dr. Porter heads a research team exploring chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. The project aims to assess response at the molecular level while informing best practices for consent in clinical trials, providing new diagnostic tools and treatment plans that are individually tailored.
“My research team is very grateful to the WonderBroads for their generous donation,” says Porter. “Their support and involvement as part of the research team is so important and makes a big difference in our research efforts.”
The Windsor-based team includes UWindsor psychology professor Kendall Soucie, sociology professor Suzanne McMurphy, research associate Bre-Anne Fifield, medical oncologist Caroline Hamm of Windsor Regional Hospital, and Eran Andrechek of the Michigan State University Department of Physiology. The team is working with the WonderBroads and with patients and caregivers to improve patient materials and procedures so the study can serve as a model of equity and informed consent for other clinical trials.
“We are very impressed with the research that is going on at the University of Windsor, we’re amazed,” Shoust says. “We always say wouldn’t it be wonderful if a cure came from our very own university.”
On Dec. 5 the paddlers presented a cheque for $1,000 that will benefit the WE-Spark Health Grants Program.