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May 25, 2020

Every morning, each of us wakes up with a “why.” Why we work where we do, why we spend time with the people around us and why we support the causes we care about.

So, what’s the “why” behind the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama? Why do we do what we do? Why are we so passionate about our mission? And what do we hope to achieve?

Today, we’d like to share our why with you. Let’s dive in to learn more.


In December 1995, two strangers with a shared experience of breast cancer’s impact crossed paths at what is now the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. The first was Dolly O’Neal, at that time an 18-month breast cancer survivor, and the other was Bruce Sokol, whose wife D. D. was undergoing breast cancer treatment. Both individuals felt driven to fight the disease and were determined to take steps forward to make a change.

The following year, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama was born, with the intention of funding promising local research to find better treatment and diagnostic options for those battling the disease.


Over 20 years later, those involved with the organization are still just as passionate about the mission of the BCRFA as they were during its first year of work. Why is that?

Our team and partners understand the devastating impact that breast cancer can have on their loved ones and the urgency of finding solutions for those who are, or will be, affected. In Alabama, 1 in 8 women and 1 in 1,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Nearly all of us know someone who has faced this disease. That knowledge — that we’re fighting for someone we know personally — helps keep us driven.

Those involved in the organization also know that their dollars and time have a true local impact. By working with the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB and their collaborative partners across Alabama, the BCRFA sees tangible progress being made toward finding solutions each year. With that kind of real change comes unstoppable action.


Today, we’re still focused on our goal with more drive and passion than ever. As we continue to raise funds for life-saving research, we’ve found a secondary goal along the way: building community.

The BCRFA has been a collaborative organization from the beginning. Since the day that Dolly and Bruce joined forces in 1995, we’ve worked to give individuals across the state who care about funding breast cancer research the chance to join together to fight the disease.

From our fundraising events like the Pink Palace Casino Night and CahabaQue, to recurring donor opportunities like our Donor Days of Summer Campaign, individuals and Alabama-based companies come together year after year to support and fundraise for a worthy cause.

Since the organization’s beginning, we’ve raised $10 million for breast cancer research, and we’re just getting started. Our “why” — funding research to find solutions for breast cancer patients, right here in Alabama, while building community — keeps us moving forward. And we’re always looking for more people to join in. Today, consider making the BCRFA a why for you by getting involved in the fight against breast cancer in our state.

To learn more about our organization and the research we fund, click here.

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