Steppin' Out in Pink funds local cancer research

Published On: Sep 09 2013 06:33:10 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 10 2013 08:09:31 AM CDT
LA CROSSE, WI -

La Crosse's Steppin' Out in Pink has helped further cancer research locally through its donations to the city's only oncology lab.

"We are the only facility like this in the area that does just cancer research," said Steven Cash, the lab's research supervisor.

The Oncology Research Lab is paid for entirely by fundraising through Gundersen Health Systems. Thanks to money raised by events like Saturday's Steppin' Out in Pink, cancer research is seeing real, tangible results in the lab that experts call priceless.

"Everything is provided by people that are giving money to help us find a cure for cancer, or if not a cure, to try to find some way to make life easier to live with cancer," Cash said. "There's no way to put a price tag on how important that is."

The funds most recently helped pay for new pieces of equipment for the lab, including a microscope with an attached camera that allows researchers to store and transmit digital images of cancer cells.

Fundraising efforts also helped the lab purchase a bio-fluorescent imaging system that can track cancer cells as they grow.

"It makes the whole research much more efficient, and the data that's coming out of it is much more precise," Cash said of the newest equipment.

While Steppin' Out in Pink and other fundraising efforts have helped to further magnify cancer research in the Oncology Lab, it's part of a process that may take years.

"Our research isn't going to help you today," Cash warned. "You, a breast cancer survivor or donor, are allowing us to help women in the future, not just for breast cancer but for all the cancers out  there."

This year, Steppin' Out in Pink raised more than $100,000 just online. Event organizers planned on releasing the final total Tuesday.

Since its inception, the lab has produced real results for breast cancer research. A study its researchers did on cancer treatment was published last year in an oncology journal, a feat they hope to continue in future years.