Colleen Drury loved life. She exercised, loved to cook, travel and spend time with the people she adored. She also “gave the best hugs,” according to her grandchildren Chloe, Luke, Blake and Caleb. In 2007, Colleen was diagnosed with Stage 3-C ovarian cancer. Six years later, she passed away, but not before setting her daugters on a whole new course.
In 2012, Colleen’s daughter Nicole Cundiff and her husband Billy created the Colleen’s Dream Foundation (CDF). Over the course of the next seven years the nonprofit organization has quickly risen to become the largest, privately-funded ovarian cancer-specific group in Arizona.
The driving force behind Colleen’s Dream is research that will lead to an early detection test for ovarian cancer, which in turn could save thousands of lives every year. Currently there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer like there is for breast and cervical cancers. In a woman’s lifetime, one in 75 will develop ovarian cancer. Only about 20 percent of those are discovered in the early stages.
Earlier discovery greatly increases the chance of eradication and this is what Colleen’s Dream fights for every day. The organization has partnered with some of the top researchers in the country, helping to fund research at hospitals and universities, which are also working tirelessly to develop early detection and improved treatment.
“As I look out in the future, I dream of a time when women of all ages will have a reliable early detection test for ovarian cancer and more humane treatment for those women with late stage ovarian cancer,” Colleen once said.
The foundation also provides seed funding; money is awarded to startup companies that are focused on cutting-edge ovarian cancer research and solutions for earlier detection. To date, $1.3 million has been awarded to research grants.
The organization’s website contains valuable information, such as early signs and symptoms, as well as different ways to contribute to the foundation.
CDF’s Luau for the Dream annual fundraiser was held at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale this past year. Leis were given at the door and attendees enjoyed entertainment from hula and fire dancers.
Although this was an evening of fun and community, the ultimate goal was to raise funds for the development of the life-altering early detection test for ovarian cancer. This year, CDF was able to donate $50,000 to TGen, a non-profit genomics research institute based in Arizona, to support ovarian cancer research.
“We will take the next year to return to our roots and determine how we can maximize the gala in a way that will more effectively build a world without suffering from ovarian cancer,” Cundiff said, “That’s the dream my mom wanted for the foundation.”
For more: colleensdream.org.
Last year, CDF was able to donate $50,000 to TGen, a non-profit genomics research institute based in Arizona, to support ovarian cancer research.