“Decoding Cancer” is a ground-breaking collection of standards-aligned interactive classroom resources created by a visionary group of breast cancer advocates, experts, and educators - the Val Skinner Foundation, the LIFE Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in collaboration with the Rutgers School of Public Health, and Discovery Education. Decoding Cancer facilitates meaningful discussions among high school teachers, students, and families through comprehensive digital resources.
An innovative and interactive high school biology and genetics education program featuring the BioCONECT (Biology of Cancer, Online Education Connecting Teens) curriculum, Decoding Cancer enhances science literacy and increases cancer education and awareness among youth.
The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As such, it is uniquely positioned to bring state-of-the-art clinical services and programs and access to clinical research trials to New Jersey and surrounding areas.
Funds donated through the LIFE Event support the LIFE Center. Founded in 2002 to recognize the advocacy and leadership role of Val Skinner and the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), the LIFE Center was established to provide increasing awareness of and supporting programs for young women with an increased risk for breast cancer.
Through a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts including medical oncologists, surgeons, geneticists, genetic counselors, psychologists, and nurse practitioners, The LIFE Center provides genetic counseling and risk assessment for women at risk. Experts housed there study factors that may cause early onset breast cancer and work to develop effective preventive strategies for young women at risk and their families.
The LIFE Center has also developed a familial cancer registry database of individuals seen through the programs. Researchers with permission to access a cancer registry can study factors implicated in cancer development including the genetic and environmental causes, ultimately leading to early detection, prevention, improved treatments and benefits for research.
LIFE funds have been used to expand the LIFE Center services to numerous New Jersey area hospitals.
For more information about The Life Center at The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, visit www.cinj.org
The LIFE Center and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2008 established BioCONECT, inquiry-based biology curriculum for high school students designed to improve science skills and increase breast cancer awareness. The programs promote breast health among teenagers, reduce factors that increase the risk of breast cancer, develop innovative risk-reduction for young women and study the biopsycholsocial processes that place women at risk.
After experiencing BioCONECT, the students expressed their interest in visiting the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to see the doctors, nurses and patients doing what they had been researching in class. As a result of that enthusiasm, BOLD was developed in 2011. BOLD (BioCONECT Oncology Leadership Development) is a summer camp for high school students conducted at the institute that allows them to experience the BioConnect curriculum as it relates to actual cancer cases with the actual doctors for those patients. Participants enhance their knowledge regarding cancer risk reduction and develop skills needed for them to become their own health advocate in addition to being exposed to careers in science, research, medicine and healthcare.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for efforts dedicated to curing breast cancer at every stage – from the causes, to the cures, to the pain and anxiety of every moment in between. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.
In 2013, The Val Skinner Foundation and its LIFE Event partners helped launch Young Women Walking, or YW2, an event for women age 16-23 targeted at raising awareness for breast cancer. The events took place on the Saturday of each Susan G. Komen 3-Day® event and included a 20-mile walk, special reception in the Val Skinner tent and an evening of activities to celebrate the mission and activation of advocacy for research. YW2 is designed to not only educate this generation, but to activate their advocacy for research.
The Val Skinner Foundation in collaboration with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, founded Komen On the Go™ in 2004. The mobile experience tour educated and engaged people of all ages in the breast cancer movement for more than eight years. From inner cities to community festivals; public universities to neighborhood centers, Komen on the Go’s signature bright pink vehicles toured the country teaching Americans everywhere to take charge of their breast health and empowering participants to share information with friends and join the breast cancer movement. The tour visited communities across the United States, educating and elevating thousands of people with messages of hope.
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. The Young Survival Coalition has used LIFE grants specifically for peer support and educational programs for young women living with metastiatic breast cancer.
To learn more about YSC, visit www.youngsurvival.org.