After beating breast cancer a local survivor is now raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.
Megan MacKenzie even gets to meet and see researchers hard at work in the lab.
"It makes me want to pull up my sleeves and get back to work on fundraising," MacKenzie said..
Since 2008, she's raised more than $150,000 for research. You could say it's her calling. She survived breast cancer, but her brother died of adrenal cancer in the 90s. Later in 2007, five days after she was diagnosed, Mackenzie learned her father had esophageal cancer. He died months later.
"Pretty much the wind was taken out of my sails," she said.
It's why she has so much passion. Mackenzie knows finding better breast cancer treatments is critical.
"She's a tremendous inspiration," breast cancer researcher Helene McMurray said.
Recently, MacKenzie helped found the Breast Cancer Research Initiative Fund.
"Funding research here locally is extremely important because your dollar is a dollar," she said. "It's not being sent away and then sent back minus the administrative costs."
The fund awards $25,000 to local researchers, including McMurray who works at the University of Rochester.
"I was really excited," McMurray said. "It enabled us to access technology that we wouldn't be able to afford otherwise."
The award from the fund is seed money to get researchers starting off. Once a scientist gets their research off the ground then they can go after national funding, which can be in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
"I am just a huge believer in making things better for the next person," MacKenzie said.
With each dollar researchers get that much closer to making that a reality.
URMC Wilmot Cancer Center