After Susan Poorman Blackie’s diagnosis of ovarian cancer on Valentine’s Day in 2012 left her completely blindsided, she realized that she had to do something to improve the awareness and treatment options for ovarian cancer. Susan’s remarkable journey and commitment to making a difference in the lives of those with ovarian cancer led to the creation of the Susan Poorman Blackie Ovarian Cancer Foundation (SPB4OVC) in late 2013.
The Susan Poorman Blackie’s Ovarian Cancer Foundation works diligently to promote innovative, cutting edge research and programming. SPB4OVC is currently funding researchers and organizations that are willing to take big risks with the possibility of big rewards for the ovarian cancer community. In 2014, they donated $100,000 to help fund the Moon Shots program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, as well as additional funding for specific researchers working on cutting edge ideas such as Dr. Alpa Nick’s work on developing a “breathalyzer” test for ovarian cancer at the University of Texas.
Based on their mission to fund cutting edge research, SPB4OVC has great interest in supporting the next generation of doctors, researchers and advocates. In 2014/2015, they are funding the research of a graduate student at Baylor University. Buck Dodson, Susan’s son and current SPB4OVC president, stressed the fact that they “want to support young researchers and let them know there are philanthropic groups out there willing to support their research.” To round out their first year, SPB4OVC also helped to fund the The Clearity Foundation and their innovative work on personalized tumor blueprinting to help guide therapy selection in women with ovarian cancer.
In addition to funding research, SPB4OVC is working within the Houston community to increase awareness of ovarian cancer. In conjunction with World Ovarian Cancer Day (May 8), SPB4OVC is collaborating with Judy’s Mission, another Houston based ovarian cancer organization, to host a screening of the film No Evidence of Disease on May 7. This event is a big step in SPB4OVC’s programmatic efforts and they are excited by the opportunity to increase community interaction and local collaboration. SPB4OVC is also partnering with local textile designer MANOOSH to create a signature scarf, designed in Susan’s honor, which will serve to promote awareness and will be released in September, during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. During her treatment, Susan had viewed her scarves as symbol of empowerment; they were a way to add color and beauty even while undergoing chemotherapy and SPB4OVC hopes that this scarf will act as a source of empowerment for other women as well.
For the Susan Poorman Blackie Ovarian Cancer Foundation, becoming a partner member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance was an important step in “a larger philosophy of collaboration, cohesion, and growth of a unified ovarian cancer movement.” Within its first year as a foundation, SPB4OVC has funded cutting edge research, student research, as well as planned events for their local community; and now, by joining the Alliance, they are a part of the larger national movement for ovarian cancer.
Looking ahead we can only expect that SPB4OVC will continue to expand on its collaborative and innovative efforts to work towards greater empowerment, knowledge, and research within the ovarian cancer community.