Worthy purse strings tie Vera Bradley Foundation $6.8 M gift to IU Cancer Center

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer is increasing its support of the Indiana University Cancer Center with a $6.8 million gift, bringing the total commitment by the Fort Wayne, Indiana-based foundation to more than $10 million in gifts to IU.

The gift will support the IU Breast Cancer Research Program, a multidisciplinary program that includes basic science and clinical investigators from 11 departments at Indiana University and the IU School of Medicine. Co-leaders of the program are George Sledge, M.D., the Ballvé Lantero Professor of Oncology and professor of medicine, and Linda Malkas, Ph.D., the Vera Bradley Professor of Oncology and professor of medicine.

"The Vera Bradley Foundation has for many years given extraordinary support to the Breast Cancer Research Program of the IU Cancer Center, for which we are profoundly grateful," said IU Cancer Center Director Stephen D. Williams, M.D., H.H. Gregg Professor of Oncology and professor of medicine. "The funds have given us the ability to continue our groundbreaking research which provides patients with better treatment outcomes than ever."

The Vera Bradley Foundation previously has made two major gifts to the IU School of Medicine: the first was in 2001 which endowed the Vera Bradley Chair of Oncology that supports Linda Malkas' research. The second, in 2005, established the Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Research Endowment.

The current gift to the IU Breast Cancer Research Program was announced Monday evening in Fort Wayne at the conclusion of the Vera Bradley Classic, a women's golf and tennis tournament that supports the foundation. This is the 13th year for the classic and more than 600 golf and tennis players and 250 volunteers participated in the weekend event June 2-4.

"How exciting it is that the Fort Wayne community has played such a tremendous part in the advancement of breast cancer research," said Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, president and co-founder of Vera Bradley. "The Vera Bradley Foundation and the IU Cancer Center team are dedicated to finding a cure."

The IU Cancer Center is an active participate in the state's life sciences initiative. For more information on the IU Cancer Center, visit www.cancer.iu.edu.

The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer was established by the Vera Bradley company, headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1998. Vera Bradley manufactures quilted, cotton handbags, luggage and accessories for the gift industry. For more information on Vera Bradley Foundation, visit www.verabradley.org.

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