The V Foundation is successful thanks to the contributions of many: donors, corporate partners, our incredible Board and Scientific Advisory Committee and the amazing researchers to whom we award grants. With “In Their Own Words,” we sit down with key members of our team to learn more about their commitment to the V Foundation and their personal desire to put an end to cancer. In this edition, we chat with V Foundation Board Member and BRCA Foundation Founder Evan Goldberg.
The V Foundation: You are the Chairman, President and Director of the BRCA Foundation. For some who may be unaware, can you explain BRCA and what your foundation does?
Evan Goldberg: BRCA genes are genes that all of us have which help cells repair their DNA. Some individuals have inherited a mutation to one of those genes that makes them more susceptible to certain cancers, most significantly women have a high chance of being diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer, but the mutation also predisposes both men and women to other cancers. Our foundation envisions a world where the threat of cancer has been eliminated for families and individuals affected by a BRCA gene mutation. We aim to do that by fostering collaboration across cancer types and across institutions to catalyze research that will lead more quickly to prevention and cures.
TVF: How has cancer affected you personally?
EG: My mother survived two bouts of breast cancer, and my mother-in-law is a long term ovarian cancer survivor. Both had to endure surgery and chemo which, while saving their lives, also presented significant challenges. I have lost friends to cancer, and through my work at the V Foundation and the BRCA Foundation I have seen the terrible toll the disease takes on people and their families.
TVF: What led you to get involved with the V Foundation?
EG: I have been involved with the V Foundation for almost a decade, and I am a huge believer in the approach and the results. I first learned about the significance of BRCA beyond women’s cancers and beyond just cancers of the inherited population from from the amazing scientific advisory board at the V. I then was bowled over when I learned that Jimmy and his family were affected by the BRCA gene mutation. The partnership became an absolute natural next step and Susan Braun was brilliant in architecting a structure for it. We found a way to include the Gray Foundation, started by Jon and Mindy Gray, who have been incredible supporters of BRCA research and outreach over the years.
TVF: Why is private-sector funding of cancer research so important?
EG: While the federal government has been an incredible resource to support cancer research, in recent years that funding has become much tighter and in many cases more conservative. Private sector resources including foundations like the V Foundation, the BRCA Foundation and the Gray Foundation are critical in that they can help researchers “cross the chasm” from idea to evidence-based studies that will drive further federal funding. The V Foundation is justifiably proud in catalyzing more than a billion dollars of federal research funds for the researchers it has supported.
TVF: What does “Victory Over Cancer” look like to you?
EG: Families should be able to live without fear of cancer. Whether they have an inherited gene mutation or not, currently, every family in this country and beyond is highly likely to be affected by cancer. With a combination of prevention, early detection, and therapy leading to cures the specter of this disease can be eliminated from our children and their children’s future.