Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund Tips Off Women's Final Four with Gift

Diane Duke Williams
Media Coordinator 
(314) 286-0111

April 3, 2009 – The Kay Yow/Women's Basketball Coaches Association Cancer Fund and The V Foundation announced that Michael Welch, PhD, and John-Stephen Taylor, PhD, received the first research grant awarded with money raised by the fund. Awarded during the NCAA Women's Final Four weekend in St. Louis, the grant will fund a breast cancer research project at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital andWashington University School of Medicine.

Kay Yow Gift

From left, Michael Welch, PhD, professor of radiology at Washington University; Sue Donohoe, vice president of NCAA Division 1 Women's Basketball; John-Stephen Taylor, PhD, professor of chemistry; Marsha Sharp, president of the Kay Yow/Women's Basketball Coaches Association Cancer Fund; and Nick Valvano, CEO of the V Foundation.

The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund was created in 2007 by Kay Yow, the longtime North Carolina State women's basketball coach who recently died of cancer, in collaboration with the WBCA and The V Foundation for Cancer Research. "The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation, is thrilled to be allocating our first grant of $100,000 to Dr. Michael Welch from Washington University," says Marsha Sharp, president of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. "The women's basketball community is committed to finding an answer in the fight against women's cancers through raising money for scientific research as a collective whole."

The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund raises money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause. "We are thrilled to have accomplished this tremendous feat in Kay's honor," says Nick Valvano, CEO of The V Foundation. "It is a true tribute to Kay that so many people have embraced her cause and supported the fund that she established."

The grant will be used for a project titled "Targeted Nanoparticles Optimized for Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy," in which the principal investigators will study methods to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer through nanotechnology. This research will be conducted in hopes that doctors will be able to find cancerous cells even before a mammogram can detect them.

"Thanks to the wonderful support of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund and the V Foundation, we will be able to realize our goal of studying ways to diagnose breast cancer earlier using nanotechnology," says Timothy Eberlein, MD, Siteman director. "Our research also has opened the possibility of using this exciting new technology for targeted therapy, which promises to be more effective and less toxic. We are grateful to the Kay Yow/WBCH Cancer Fund and the V Foundation for having the confidence in our research to award this valuable support."

The addition to honoring Yow, the gift to Siteman honors Jim Valvano, legendary basketball coach at North Carolina State and an ESPN commentator, who died of cancer in 1993.