After selling her successful recruitment business in 1998, Emma Jacobs was ready for a much-deserved break.
“I was pretty adamant that I wasn’t going to rush back to work,” says Jacobs. “Then someone said to me, ‘Emma, you need to have a purpose.’ And one came to me in 2001.”
Jacobs was diagnosed with breast cancer that January. She started The Emma Jacobs Breast Cancer Foundation/Taking Initiative To Survive, a foundation focused on raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research.
“I’m passionate about what I do, as most survivors are,” says Jacobs. “I’m very much a believer that the end of cancer is near, that we are going to get on the other side of it, that we will find a cure. That’s what keeps me going.”
Several years after her diagnosis and treatment, she met Anthony Lucci, M.D., professor of Breast Surgical Oncology, through her work as a patient advocate. Lucci’s research and philosophy for patient care struck a chord, and Jacobs immediately decided to help fund his efforts.
“Although Dr. Lucci did not perform my surgery, he’s the man I’d want for the job, had I known him back then,” says Jacobs. “Above all, his concerns are the women he treats.”
The Color Me Pink benefit began as a small fundraiser to support Lucci’s breast cancer research. Proceeds from ticket sales and silent auctions over the past seven years have grown to $200,000. Jacobs credits the success to her foundation’s board of directors. This year’s benefit featured a painting by Lucci.
“Emma has been a tireless supporter of breast cancer research at MD Anderson and for breast cancer patients in general,” says Lucci. “She’s one of our most passionate advocates. We’re fortunate to have her as a supporter.
Anthony Lucci, M.D., focuses his research on developing ways to identify, characterize and eradicate micrometastatic breast cancer that has spread from the primary tumor to the blood and bone marrow. Linda Lum participated in his micrometastatic disease research project after she was diagnosed with early-stage, lymph node-negative breast cancer.
“His research accurately predicted my recurrence risk, as I have recently experienced breast cancer progression to my bones,” says Lum. “I hope this type of research identifies patients who have a risk of cancer spreading so there can be an early intervention.”
Learn more about The Emma Jacobs Breast Cancer Foundation - Taking Initiative To Survive.