Jeffrey and Margaret Dean

When Margaret Dean first contacted UNC Lineberger in December to make a gift, she had done her homework. An employee with Quintiles, Margaret shared that she and her husband Jeffrey wished to contribute to triple negative breast cancer research, and they had come to learn Lineberger is a global leader in this area.

What inspired this young couple with two small children to act was Margaret’s mother and her experience with the disease. For the Deans, choosing Lineberger with science savvy leaders like Drs. Lisa Carey and Chuck Perou, was an easy decision. 

Jefferey and Margaret Dean
Jeffrey and Margaret Dean

At first, the Deans were not certain how they were going to structure their gift, but when they learned that an expendable fund would help provide much needed cash to speed up research efforts, they decided that was the way to go. They were delighted to discover they could name the fund for Margaret’s mother who was treated in the northeast.

The Deans are already thinking creatively about how they can grow the The Elizabeth Whittet O’Conor Fund for Breast Cancer Research in years to come. They plan to ask friends to contribute and have initiated steps to secure matching funds from their respective employers. During a visit to the cancer hospital Margaret remarked, “We want to teach our two boys about philanthropy and about the real world impact of science. We also want to help enable others to learn more about the success and challenges in cancer research. One opportunity we see is for our children’s birthdays to invite guests to contribute in lieu of gifts.”

Margaret further reflects, “Sometimes people think breast cancer is not as bad as it used to be. That might be true for the majority of breast cancers, but breast cancer is not one disease, it is many diseases. Triple negative breast cancer affects a huge swath of women in the prime of their lives for whom there are no targeted therapies available. My mom’s treatment, through a clinical trial, turned out to be beneficial and she is doing great almost 10 years later. For us this is wonderful, but the why and opportunity to positively impact many others still remains.”

Jeffrey adds, “We need more tools in this fight. There is still so much to learn. My aunt, Peggy Heath Kravitz, passed away in 2009 after being diagnosed with a fairly common and treatable breast cancer case. We know that our investment is helping find answers that will enable consistent and positive outcomes. That’s why our family will continue to find ways to support UNC Lineberger’s research in years to come.”