by AMY LEHRER

Sometimes setbacks inspire innovation, which the Hope for a Cure Foundation board members discovered during their first fundraising project in 2004. Two foundation board members who had lost family members to cancer learned that local scientists lacked equipment needed to advance critical cancer research. They joined forces with three cancer survivors and decided to purchase a microscope for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Using personal money and funds acquired via letter writing campaign, the five board members raised $10,000.00. With a great sense of accomplishment, they hand delivered their check, only to learn that forty-five percent of the money would be applied to the center’s administrative overhead, ultimately resulting in insufficient funds to actually purchase the microscope. Undaunted, the board members negotiated a lower price with the equipment manufacturer’s sales representative due to their foundation’s non-profit status. This model of purchasing and then donating equipment rather than money allowed and continues to allow the Hope for the Cure Foundation to ensure that one hundred percent of every donation purchases cancer research equipment and that all raised funds remain in San Diego.

According to the foundation board members, “To date, the foundation has delivered thirteen pieces of research equipment ranging in price from $10,000 to $18,000 to the major cancer research centers in San Diego including the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, the Sanford-Burnham Institute, the Salk Institute and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.” The recipients of donated equipment keep the foundation board members informed on the latest research and let them know who else needs equipment. Due to their inside information, the board members divulged, “We are happy to speak with anyone that might need a referral to a specific physician.”

In recent years the Liedle, Lounsbery, Larson and Lidl, LLP law firm has generously sponsored the foundation’s primary fundraiser, allowing the foundation to eliminate its own fundraising overhead as well. The foundation’s next annual wine tasting fundraiser that will also include food, silent and live auctions, and music will take place at Arterra in Del Mar from 1 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13. One of the to-be-auctioned items includes a lunch with San Diego’s esteemed mayor, Jerry Sanders. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased through eventbrite.com or at the door. Direct donations are also welcome. As Helen Keller aptly stated, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”