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Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his wife First Lady Patricia Blagojevich, a couple devoted to the fight against breast, cervical and ovarian cancer, announced $500,000 in Penny Severns Breast, Cervical and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund grants as well as $405,000 in Ticket for the Cure research grants.

Last night, Mrs. Blagojevich joined WVON and Access Community Health Networks at “Friends for a Cure: A Night on Broadway” to support African American survivors of breast cancer. In memory of Carolyn Adams, the former Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery, Mrs. Blagojevich announced the Ticket for the Cure grants, and spoke about the Governor’s Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) which helps uninsured women get routine screening, early detection and breast and cervical cancer treatment.

“It is critical that we continue to research new ways to treat and hopefully someday cure cancer,” said Governor Blagojevich. “The Penny Severns Breast, Cervical and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund grants along with the Ticket for the Cure grants help researchers develop and advance techniques for early detection, prevention, curing, screening, and treatment.”

Ticket for the Cure, launched in January 2006, is the nation’s first lottery ticket dedicated to helping fund breast cancer research, education and patient services throughout the state. All net proceeds from Ticket for the Cure support programs and research initiatives.

Net revenue from the sale of Ticket for the Cure is deposited into an interest bearing account in the State Treasury called the Ticket for the Cure Fund. The Illinois General Assembly appropriates this money solely to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), which awards grants to public and private entities in Illinois. The Ticket for the Cure Board, a special advisory board, reviews and approves all grants funded by Ticket for the Cure revenue. A total of $5,938,688 in community organization and research grants has been awarded.

“I am honored to announce the Ticket for the Cure research grants in memory of Carolyn Adams. May Carolyn’s life be a testament to us all that the best things we as women can do for our families, is to keep ourselves healthy,” said Mrs. Blagojevich said at the WVON event.

Penny Severns Grants

This Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund was established in 1994 and renamed in 1999 to honor the late State Senator Penny Severns of Decatur, who died from breast cancer. Blagojevich added ovarian cancer in the summer of 2005 to the program’s mission and changed the fund name to the Penny Severns Breast, Cervical and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in her memory.

The research fund is a special fund within the state treasury that is used for breast, cervical and ovarian cancer research grants. Revenue sources include income tax contributions and gifts as well as grants and awards from private foundations, nonprofit organizations and other governmental entities or persons.
Grants are awarded to support research in areas related to breast, cervical and ovarian cancer prevention, etiology, pathogenesis, early detection, treatment, and behavioral sciences. Research also may include clinical trials. Grant awards for Fiscal Year 2009 range from $25,000 to $70,000. Since its inception, a total of $7,402,854 in grants has been awarded.

“Better methods for early detection and more effective treatments for cancer are key to reducing the number of deaths due to breast, cervical and ovarian cancer,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health Director. “It’s an honor to award these grants, funded in part by Illinois taxpayer donations and lottery ticket sales, to researchers committed to advancing the fight against cancer.”

The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) is also a weapon in the fight against cancer. The best way to detect cancer early is to have regular breast and cervical cancer screenings and through IBCCP, all uninsured women 35 or older can get free cervical cancer screenings and women 40 or older can get free breast cancer screenings. Younger women who have symptoms may also be eligible. If cancer is found, IBCCP offers access to low-cost treatment. Even if a woman has been diagnosed with cancer outside of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, she may still receive low-cost treatment.

Walgreens has also joined the fight against breast cancer by donating $50,000 to the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. The first 2,000 women to sign up for IBCCP by calling the Women’s Health Line at 1-888-522-1282 to schedule and keep their screening appointment will receive a $25 gift card from Walgreens. The gift card can be used to help cover the cost of prescription medications during these tight economic times or for other necessary purchases.