The 2021 Paint the Town Pink cancer research fundraising season was kicked off tonight with the annual Austin Area Chamber of Commerce’s January “Business After Hours” event. The virtual event included greetings from the new Executive Director Dr. Robert Clarke, updates from current researchers and plans for 2021 Paint the Town Pink.
Dr. Clarke shared the importance of community support to fund innovative studies for preliminary data, Dr. Amer Alam gave a “deep dive” tour of the CryoEM, the world’s most powerful electron microscope, Dr. Sergio Gradilone, a Paint the Town Pink grant recipient, shared how research is furthered through Paint the Town Pink support, and Dr. Ted Hinchcliffe talked of the importance of community support.
Kathi Finley, director of Paint the Town Pink and Craig Patrick, owner of the Austin Bruins, shared their gratitude to the community and gratitude at what PTTP has grown into, supporting research that aims to extend human lives.
The 2021 ambassador was announced, and has a unique perspective on her cancer journey. Dr. Rebecca Morris, professor and leader of the Stem Cells and Cancer lab at The Hormel Institute, will serve as this year’s Paint the Town Pink ambassador. Dr. Morris was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 and shared with the chamber membership firsthand the importance of funding cancer research, this time from two perspectives.
Kathi Finley, Paint the Town Pink director, thanked past fundraisers and businesses that have supported Paint the Town Pink. This year will not be the same as years past due to the limitations of COVID-19.
Due to COVID-19, some of the annual Paint the Town Pink events, such as Plunging for Pink and Fishing for a Cure have been cancelled for 2021. However, the Austin Bruins are moving forward with Paint the Rink Pink, moving it to sometime this spring. The KAUS Radiothon and a number of other fundraisers are also planning to continue in 2021.
Paint the Town Pink has raised over $2 million for cancer research at The Hormel Institute since 2011, funding 15 Paint the Town Pink seed grants to date. These seed grants fund new and exciting cancer research, allowing scientists to start research and gather initial data that can be used to apply for larger, national grant funding.
More information on Paint the Town Pink and upcoming events can be found at hi.umn.edu/PTTP