About the same time, his mother’s longtime friend, Mary Jane Burns, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Both women were treated at UNC. Ms. Burns passed away in 2012.
“Gynecologic cancers don’t get as much attention as some others,” he explained. “That’s why we started the Below the Belt. We raise funds and awareness to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a group of cancers that affect 80,000 new women each year.”
In the three years since they began the program, they have raised over $50,000 to help fund two clinical trials for endometrial cancer and a summer research fellowship for a medical student. Each year the group has a team that participates in the Tar Heel 10 Miler.
Eli says, “ Stella and Mary Jane between them have over 80 years of social work experience, so they have touched many lives. Lots of people have come forward to support the program. We have inspiring support from the OB/GYN department, Medical Foundation and hospital staff. We enjoy working on it and want to do more so that we can increase our support of research and awareness.”
Look for the Below the Belt team at this year’s Tar Heel 10K on April 20.