Support rising in the search for answers: Paint the Town Pink roaring into its ninth year of fighting cancer

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 24, 2019

By Gail Dennisen

The Hormel Institute director of development and public relations

For nine years, Paint the Town Pink has continued to grow and gain momentum as people in a growing number of communities and surrounding states are ‘”coming together for the cure” to accelerate answers to cancer.

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Why?  People care about finding answers to cancer because people care about their lives, health and best of all, each other.

By supporting the innovative cancer research of The Hormel Institute – research that furthers the understanding of breast cancer and other cancers – answers are accelerated.

“We are so thankful for Paint the Town Pink and the important funds that further our goals at The Hormel Institute,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director.

“All of our research is aimed at learning more about how to either prevent cancer from developing or how to control it so people can live longer, healthier lives.”

Right now, eight innovative research projects funded entirely by Paint the Town Pink grants are in their second year of study:

1. Dr. Rhoderick Rick Brown:  “Role of Inflammation in Breast Cancer Initiation and Progression: Intervention Potential by Sphingolipid Transfer Proteins”

2. Dr. Yibin Deng: “Targeting Therapy for BRCA1/Trp53 Mutation-Driven Triple-Negative Breast Cancer in vivo”

3. Dr. Sergio Gradilone: “CILIOTHERAPY: Restoration of Primary Cilia as a Targeted Therapy in Breast Cancer”

4. Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe:  “The role of Repo-Man/PP1γ in regulating chromosome instability”

5. Dr. Luke Hoeppner:  “New treatments that promote recovery from radiation dermatitis are necessary to improve the quality of life and clinical outcome of breast cancer patients by alleviating painful short- and long-term radiation side effects to ensure completion of radiation therapy regimens”

6. Dr. Shujun Liu: “The clinical implications of the FABP4-DNMT1 cascade in breast cancer”

7. Dr. Rebecca Morris: “Blood epithelial trafficking in mammary cancer”

8. Dr. Anna Sundborger: “EGFR down-regulation may be a superior strategy to develop efficient EGFR based treatment option for triple negative breast cancer”

The Hormel Institute continues its ground-breaking work thanks the support of many different entities taking part in Paint the Town Pink. Herald file photo

These projects are only possible because of the seed grants funded by PTTP.  The projects explore new ideas to accumulate data so larger studies/larger grants can be possible.

This is extremely important because the federal research budget is shrinking, and more and more research must be creatively funded and supported through other avenues.

Paint the Town Pink started in 2011 with the Austin Bruins Craig Patrick and a sold out “Paint the Rink Pink.”  It was furthered the next year by a band of supportive Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau members (now Discover Austin) who furthered the idea to “Paint the Town Pink” which included other events throughout the town.

Paint the Town Pink has now spread with ideas and support coming from small groups, bars, big businesses, companies, organizations and more, including:

  • Absolute Energy – Pink at the Pump (Iowa Renewable Fuels Association)
  • Austin Bruins
  • Blooming Prairie Cancer Group
  • Compeer Financial
  • Fishing for a Cure
  • Greater Mower County PTTP Pinko Bingo
  • Helping Hands – Hormel Foods Corp
  • Hoot & Ole’s Dutchtown Jumpers
  • ”Hotel California” Eagles Tribute Band Concert
  • Mayo Clinic Health Systems – Austin
  • Mower County Fair Board
  • Pheasants Forever Hunt For A Cure
  • Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation
  • Plunging for Pink
  • And many, many others in the Austin Community

The Hormel Institute helps manage and lend support for PTTP events, along with director Kathi Finley who works with the event leaders to raise funds for the important cancer research activities.

“We are a team of people working together for the common cause to fund research so people’s lives are not interrupted or cut short by cancer,” said Gail Dennison, Director of Development and Public Relations for The Hormel Institute.

“The people who support Paint the Town Pink have seen the effects of cancer.  They’ve either lost a loved one, are battling cancer themselves or someone they care about is, and their desire to support research is the same as ours – to accelerate discoveries so people can live longer, healthier lives. We are really thankful to all who support PTTP and we’re doing this together.”