In 2002 Judy Lese, an elementary school teacher in Montgomery County, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She received excellent treatment by the doctors and staff at Sibley Hospital, became a cancer survivor, and has continued to teach and provide nurturing support to her students.
Like many who have faced a serious illness and survived, Judy wondered how she could turn this life changing experience into good and help others. From the doctors at Sibley Hospital, she learned that even the smallest contributions are critical to help patients and support breast cancer research. In 2003 Judy and her husband Larry started The Judith A. Lese Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
Building on the advice and guidance of her doctors, she researched various ways to help. As Judy learned more about the needs, and through her own experiences, it became clear what the goal of her new “grassroots, not-for-profit organization” foundation would be. In the end, the mission of the Foundation would be “the pursuit of education and cure for breast cancer”. To accomplish the mission, Judy and Larry developed three distinct components:
• Promote increased awareness of cancer with accurate information so each becomes a stronger advocate for self and others.
• Develop familiarity with resources and centers for maintaining breast health.
• Fund specifically selected research and researchers at comprehensive cancer research institutions to advance continuous accomplishments.
Additionally, Judy wanted to create a Foundation logo that represented the two very strong emotions she experienced during her breast cancer battle. For her, the two words: Tears and Hugs kept coming to mind. Judy was able to incorporate both of these emotions into her logo, showing an inverted ribbon as a tear, and stretched arms as a hug.
These emotions permeate life from the initial diagnosis to treatment, recovery, and cure. In the beginning, tears fall, but hugs insulate. At the end of one's medical treatments, tears are of joy, accomplishment, achieving a goal, completing treatments, and hugs feel so good to verify. You did it! Yes, still here, still alive, and still moving on … A SURVIVOR.
Over the years, and through the generous donations of individuals, The Judith A. Lese Breast Cancer Foundation has raised over $400,000 which have benefited:
To help maximize the impact of donations to help others, 100% of contributions made to the Foundation are disbursed. Through the generosity of Judy and Larry, all the administrative costs of the Foundation’s operations and overhead are paid by them. Judy could never have imagined what a positive impact her dream would have on breast cancer in the Washington DC area and beyond.
As a small organization, donations come from a variety of sources: direct donations in honor or memory of individuals; the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) of the National Capital Area; and annual fundraising activities (Dinner and Walk to Win). Every dollar helps to make a difference.
For 2021, the Fundraising Dinner Banquet will be on Tuesday, October 5th at Maggiano’s Chevy Chase and the Walk to Win (the battle against breast cancer) will be held on October 31st at the Bethesda Crescent Trail. For details on these events, and other information on The Judith A. Lese Breast Cancer Foundation, go to their website at: www.judithalese.org or email them at: LeseCancerFdn@aol.com
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