Local sorority members at convention
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Five local residents recently attended the 104th National Convention of the Phi Beta Psi Sorority in Lexington, Ky. During the official business, over $325,000 in cancer research grants were given to six cancer research grantees.
Voting for the grants as delegates were Fran Turnwald, local chapter president; and Diane Stewart, immediate past president. Others who attended from Van Wert were Karen Workman, Judy Sampson and Marie Thomas, one of the 46 women attending the convention for the first time.
The grants were given for research in breast cancer, genomic alteration factors in colorectal adenocarcinoma, research into prostate cancer, cancer stem cell directed therapies, influence of smoking on gene expressions profile that predict breast cancer behavior, identifying predictors of drug response in ovarian cancer.
Researchers are located throughout the United States and are all associated with either major universities or nationally known cancer research centers.
The grants are the results of efforts of over 1,400 women in 81 active chapters in nine states to raise money for these important researchers. In addition to this money, all chapters also fund other projects, which may include local cancer patients as well as other local concerns.
The sorority, which began in Columbus, was formed by six high school girls and has grown steadily. Since 1941, over $7,644,000 has been given to the national project, which at one time also funded research for the cure of polio.
The local chapter is best known for being the “taco ladies” for selling tacos in a bag at the Van Wert County Fair. Group members like to think they are “curing cancer one taco at a time”. Other fundraising activities include ham and bean soup at the Van Wert County Apple Festival, selling Koeze nuts and candy in the fall and the special Otis Spunkmeyer cookies in the spring.
Locally, in addition to providing funds for the national project, the 11 members of the Iota Zeta Chapter in Van Wert have also helped local cancer patients. For more information about the group, contact any of the above members.