Local effort to find a cure for cancer

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SARASOTA - When it comes to cancer, doctors, families and those fighting the awful disease are still looking for the Key to the Cure.

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation's “Key to the Cure” fundraiser is helping to do just that by benefitting women's cancer care programs at Sarasota Memorial Health Care.

There is an amazing team of local women and men behind the effort and now one member is not only an organizer, but a survivor.

Christine Sandrib may look like any number of people along Bird Key Park in Sarasota taking in the view, but on this fall morning Christine may have more reason to smile. “I consider myself incredibly lucky because I wasn't supposed to find out about my ovarian cancer.”

But thanks to a gallbladder attack, she did. “My doctor was thorough enough to dig a little further and when we were doing my appendix to make sure ok he discovered that I had a large growth on my right ovary.”

In fact, she had growths on both ovaries. “But even then there is a blood test for ovarian cancer called CA-125 and my CA-125 level wasn't elevated that much so there was even a question of whether it was even a cancer.”

Surgery, however, would conclude it was cancer. “We all want to believe that it's not going to happen to us, but I was young I didn't have any other symptoms and I didn't fit into what typical ovarian cancer patient looked like, so it was an incredible shock. Still is.”

So after a hysterectomy, gallbladder removal, and 6 rounds of Chemo, this survivor is helping "The key to the Cure", an organization Christine worked with even before knowing she would need its help. “So the irony is that now I'm sort of an end-user of the efforts of that event and it's something I'm passionate about and helping people in the community and what I really like about the event is that the funds that are raised are staying here in the community.”

The annual Key to the Cure Fashion Show at Saks Fifth Avenue in Sarasota's Southgate Mall is not only empowering, but helping women like Christine get the care they need.

We are happy to report that the last few scans for Christine have been clean.

To date, Sarasota's Key to the Cure event has raised more than $680,000 to support women's cancer programs at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. Saks Fifth Avenue has partnered with SMH Foundation for the last seven years for key to the cure, and all proceeds stay local.

If you'd like to take part this year, the event is Oct. 18th at Saks from 6-9 pm. For more information click here.