PARAMUS, N.J., (April 2, 2009) - LIFE (LPGA Pros in the Fight to Eradicate Breast Cancer) celebrates 10 years of working to fulfill their mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by looking back on their ten biggest accomplishments in a decade of service.
The LIFE Event, the biggest single-day golf event fundraiser for breast cancer initiatives, benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the LPGA's official national charity and largest private backer of breast cancer research and education, and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ), a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. LIFE has raised $5 million dollars for the breast cancer fight since its inception in 2000.
The LIFE Event is the passion of LPGA veteran and six-time winner on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour, Val Skinner. Founded and led by Skinner, the annual golf event continues to bring together the world's most elite women golfers with corporate partners and friends to raise money and awareness for the breast cancer fight.
"I am extremely proud of all the accomplishments LIFE has been a part of in the last decade," said Val Skinner, LIFE founder and LPGA veteran. "Looking back at the list of LIFE highlights serves as motivation to continue our diligent fight against breast cancer. Every step moves us forward and makes a difference."
Skinner shares the top 10 accomplishments of LIFE over the past decade:
• The first celebration of LIFE to honor the memory of Heather Farr
Skinner founded LIFE in 2000 after losing a friend and fellow LPGA player, Heather Farr, to breast cancer at the young age of 28.
• The establishment of the Young Women's Initiative
This initiative became a multifaceted approach to educate young women and other audiences about the risks associated with breast cancer and the importance of early detection.
• The LIFE Center at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey
The LIFE Center at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ), named for the LIFE advocacy, houses a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, surgeons, genetic counselors, nurse practitioners, social workers, psychologists and other health care professionals to help address the specific needs of young breast cancer patients. The CINJ has been a LIFE beneficiary for 10 years and together they have created groundbreaking programs with the seed money from LIFE, most recently BioCONECT.
• BioCONECT program educates high school students about breast cancer and cancer genetics
Using funds raised by LIFE, CINJ established the BioCONECT program, an inquiry-based biology curriculum for high school students. BioCONECT uses classroom instruction and online forums to promote breast health among teenagers and reduce factors that increase the risk of breast cancer in young women. In 2008 the BioCONECT pilot program was launched in the science classes of 23 New Jersey area schools and is planned for a 2009 launch In New York. BioCONECT also launched in South Carolina in 2008 as part of LIFE in the South's effort to move the program to a national platform.
• The Komen On the Go™ Tour
With the support and vision of Founding sponsor, The Val Skinner Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure launched the Komen On the Go™ Tour, a mobile outreach and educational tour aimed at encouraging women to make a commitment to life-long positive breast health practices. Val Skinner first envisioned the tour as an outreach to college students. Always growing, the Komen On the Go™ Tour has visited hundreds of college campuses and was featured at the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2008 Garth Brooks tour and major sporting events across the country. The tour has made over 400 stops, making it the most requested program offered by Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
• LIFE Center at CINJ launches satellite centers
LIFE funds were used to develop five additional satellite LIFE centers at New Jersey area affiliate hospitals.
• The establishment of a grant for the Young Survival Coalition
A beneficiary of the LIFE Event, The Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the only international, non-profit network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to the concerns and issues that are unique to young women affected by breast cancer. A grant was established in the name of LIFE Hero Lisa Mucillo who lost her battle against the disease. The Young Survival Coalition has used LIFE grants specifically for peer support and educational programs for young women living with metastastic breast cancer.
• Honoring 10 years of LIFE Heroes
LIFE Event honors individuals, our heroes who have demonstrated courage in the face of breast cancer, and purpose in the fight to eradicate the disease. LIFE heroes come from all walks of LIFE and serve as an inspiration and a reminder of the valuable work of The Val Skinner Foundation and LIFE Event. We continue to remember those heroes who are still in the fight against breast cancer and those who lost their battle with the disease.
• LIFE Center collaborates with world-leading cancer researcher
Findings from a study conducted by Arnold Levine, Ph.D unveils a tiny variation in a gene involved in regulating tumor suppression that could increase the development of cancer at an earlier age for some individuals. This discovery will not only affect women with breast cancer, but will also impact individuals with other kinds of cancer as it provides early detection, which helps in the cure of cancer.
• LIFE and LPGA pros raise $5 million for the fight against breast cancer
The LIFE Event has its first $1 million dollar year in 2008, increasing funds raised in the fight against breast cancer to more than $5 million in 10 years of service. This work could not be accomplished without the support of the LIFE family, including the Joe Plumeri family, Emblem Health, Guy Carpenter, QualCare, Inc., Roche Oncology, Assured Guaranty, Marsh, ACE Group and Lincoln Mercury.
The 2009 LIFE Event will again be held at the historic Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., on May 18. The Ridgewood Country Club also served as the site for the 2008 PGA Barclays Tournament. The LIFE Event will draw stars from the LPGA to raise awareness and support for the fight against breast cancer. Past LPGA participants include World Hall of Fame members Beth Daniel, Karrie Webb and Nancy Lopez; top ranked players Lorena Ochoa, Morgan Pressel, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Nicole Castrale and Sherri Steinhauer, among others. Many of the LPGA's brightest stars that support The Val Skinner Foundation have watched friends and family lose their battle with breast cancer and strive to create a brighter future through the LIFE Event.
For more information about the 2009 LIFE Event, beneficiaries, participants, heroes or partners call 866-882-LIFE or visit www.valskinnerfoundation.org.