Elizabeth Grenier Smider was a wife, mother, doctor, and friend who touched numerous lives. In 2007, during a routine mammogram, Smider was diagnosed with metaplastic breast cancer, a rare and aggressive form of the disease. She valiantly fought the disease with multiple chemotherapy regimens, including clinical trials, and ultimately passed away on Christmas Eve, 2008. Throughout her illness, Smider inspired family, friends and numerous others who witnessed her grace and determination to battle.

Although there has been significant progress in cancer research, some cancers are rapidly growing, aggressive, and resistant to standard chemotherapy treatment. Recent evidence shows that these cancers are biologically distinct and should be treated differently than other breast cancers. In her honor, Smider’s family and friends started the Elizabeth Smider Foundation (ESF) in 2009 to continue to fight the disease. The mission of the Foundation is to promote awareness and sponsor therapeutically relevant high impact research in drug and diagnostic discovery.

In a short time, ESF has already been able to make strides in accomplishing its mission. The Foundation held a “think tank” for metaplastic breast cancer at the nation’s largest breast cancer meeting, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. During this event, several key initiatives were recommended, including establishing a clinical trial research network and a registry for metaplastic breast cancer patients.

Last year, the Foundation hosted a symposium in association with the American Association for Cancer Research 2010 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. One of the largest and most important meetings, it brings together over 25,000 oncologists and research scientists from all over the world. In addition, the Foundation’s symposium was granted Continuing Medical Education (CME) status, allowing attending doctors to obtain CME credit.

ESF recently held its annual fundraising dinner/gala, PINKtoberfest, on October 1st. Supporters enjoyed an evening of local wine, microbrews, silent auctions, dinner, live music and a spectacular sunset. Over $16,000 was raised at the event, more than double from the prior year. “We are so very appreciative of our donors…. We were able to share knowledge and inspire more work to be done on metaplastic breast cancer,” said Vaughn Smider.

To find out more information, donate or get involved, visit the website at www.ElizabethSmiderFoundation.org. The foundation is a non-profit and all donations are tax deductible.