Passionate about MD Anderson and the hope it brings to patients everywhere, Charles Cotros and his wife, Connie, recently contributed $265,000 toward the institution’s goal to end cancer. With friends and family as patients, they divided their gift equally between two areas of significant need: the MDS/AML (myelodysplastic syndromes/acute myeloid leukemia) Moon Shot and inflammatory breast cancer research.
“We have such respect for the institution,” says Charles, retired chairman and CEO of SYSCO Corporation. “MD Anderson is a fantastic organization, and this is our way of saying thank you for the work that they do.”
Wendy Woodward, M.D., Ph.D., says the donation “speaks to the passion our donors have for those with inflammatory breast cancer, the most aggressive form of breast cancer.”
“While it’s diagnosed in only 2% to 5% of all breast cancers, it accounts for 10% of breast cancer deaths,” Woodward says.
Through this funding, Woodward is able to make a novel call for grants, including projects that will synchronize with existing inflammatory breast cancer programs, and she hopes to build interest and funding from there.
“This is an important project for our lab, as it will generate three mouse models that will enable us to test various agents and see how they react to those therapies, and why they may not work to the extent that we’d like,” he says. “This enables us to build new platforms and new mouse models.”
Formerly of Houston and now residents of Memphis, the Cotros family hosted an event at MD Anderson last fall, gathering experts from both funded programs, as well as 30 friends, to learn more about the work they support.
“It was remarkable to have such a big group, most of whom have been touched by cancer,” says Charles. “With the work that MD Anderson does, it can affect so many people from all around the world.”