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Renee Israel Foundation

For those unfamiliar, the work of a comprehensive cancer center may seem complex or even incomprehensible. And while the physician-researchers of the Lurie Cancer Center are dedicated to vigorous scientific discovery, their work comprises so much more. According to Ivy, Jamie, and Emily Israel, they also are compassionate guides through some of the most trying times in people's lives. "Breast cancer researchers at the Lurie Cancer Center are not only highly qualified and committed professionals, but also caring individuals, committed to research that, ultimately, will help save lives."

The Israel family reflects the same such commitment through the work of their family foundation. Since 2006—when it was formed by David Israel and his daughters, Ivy, Jamie, and Emily in memory of their late wife and mother— the Renee Israel Foundation has hosted annual benefits to raise funds for the Lurie Cancer Center. "Through our philanthropy, we hope to continuously raise not only money, but also awareness that money and research is still needed to further advances in cancer treatment, as well as understanding of the nature of cancer cells, in order to prevent their formation and stay ahead of their mutation," shared the Israel family. "Our mother believed in philanthropy, and it is important to us that we continue her belief that one day there will be a cure. One day—when a cure is found—we will know that the money we raised helped contribute to that research and that our mother's legacy helped save lives. Her spirit lives within all of us."

Most recently, Emily Hoffman (née Israel) has begun an effort to gather recipes for a new cookbook, A Blending of Bittersweet Memories. Dedicated to all of those people who have lost their parent and/or loved one to cancer, the book will be a compilation of bittersweet memories in conjunction with a specific recipe. A portion of the proceeds from the cookbook will benefit the Lurie Cancer Center. "All of the traditional recipes that have departed with our loved ones will now be remembered indefinitely." Be sure to view Emily Hoffman explaining her mission for the cookbook on ABC 7 Chicago.

The Israel family's dedication to finding a cure for breast cancer inspires physician-researchers, such as Dr. Seema Khan, co-leader of the Breast Cancer Program. With the support of the Renee Israel Foundation, members of the Lurie Cancer Center strive to better assess breast cancer risk, improve diagnostic methods for women, and evaluate the roles that soy, breast tissue, related hormones, and other factors may play in reducing or elevating the risk of breast cancer. Under the leadership of Dr. Khan, Lurie Cancer Center investigators are conducting numerous studies; in one, comparing hormone levels in the nipple fluid of women with and without breast cancer. It is their hope that this study will provide important new information to support the idea that breast cancer development is aided by the production of hormones locally in the breast. Such information could help yield new methods of blocking estrogen production in the breast, to limit or eliminate the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancers, and ultimately, save lives.

"The Renee Israel Foundation's partnership remains vital to our continued progress and greater success. Philanthropic support for medical research serves as a catalyst for new discoveries that promise to improve our capacity to prevent, detect, treat, and even cure cancer. Because of your leadership and generosity, Northwestern continues to make notable contributions in the global fight against cancer."

- Seema Khan, MD, Bluhm Family Research Professor of Breast Cancer, and Co-leader, Breast Cancer Program, Lurie Cancer Center

"The greatest impact is not in the philanthropy, it is not in the money raised, nor is it in the acknowledgement provided. The greatest impact of the Foundation has been on a more personal level. The outpouring of support in our local community confirmed within us what a truly unique and uplifting spirit and role model for all that our mother was. It is so humbling knowing that our community truly loved and respected our mother simply for her spirit."

-The Renee Israel Foundation