In the late 1950’s 28 Dade County women met to discuss ways to help fight the battle against cancer. By 1959 the group had adopted its organizational charter as the Woman’s Cancer Association of the University of Miami (WCA) and elected Madelon Ravlin as Founding President. The WCA mission then and now is to support cancer research, cancer patients’ needs and cancer education. Presently three chapters comprise the Woman’s Cancer Association – Barton Ravlin Chapter, Franklin Bush Chapter and Heidi Hewes Chapter.
During the 1960’s WCA was honored by the Miami Herald and the Miami Daily News for Service to Dade County. In 1963 the Woman’s Cancer Association raised $245,800 for cancer research programs at the University of Miami. WCA also established the Molly Bush Silver Lady Fund that year to support cancer patients being treated at UM. We continue to provide for patients needs by donating all proceeds from WCA’s annual Silver Angel Tea to the Silver Lady Fund. A WCA pledge of $500,000 was surpassed in 1967, and the University of Miami then honored the Woman’s Cancer Assoc. with membership in the Society of University Founders.
By 1984 WCA made its third pledge of $1,000,000 for cancer research at UM’s School of Medicine. In 1985 we purchased the building at 1350 West Flagler Street for WCA’s thrift store, the Bargain Box. WCA joined UM’s “Decade of Triumph Campaign” in the 90’s with a pledge of $1,000,000. In May 1999 an Endowment Fund was established for the University of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, in the name of the Woman’s Cancer Assoc. of UM in memory of Pearl and Edwin Powell. Each year we award a grant to a cancer research doctor at Sylvester CCC from the Endowment’s accrued interest.
The WCA by-laws were amended in 2004 to welcome men for membership and to provide junior memberships for Middle and High School students. Once a year UM sponsors Education Day for WCA members and guests. This year we were delighted to be welcomed by Dr. Stephen Nimer, Director of UM’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and to hear from cancer research doctors about their projects for improved treatments and cures for many of the cancers being studied at UM.
In addition to members’ extensive donations of time, talent and treasure, WCA’s grants are also supported by donations from friends of WCA and foundations. Since its inception, the Woman’s Cancer Association of the University of Miami has donated more than $12,000,000 to the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine for cancer research. We have also provided funds for the Pediatric Palliative Care Program, established the Bereavement Room for families of pediatric cancer patients, and supplied educational materials for the library at the Batchelor Children’s Cancer Institute. Membership in the Woman’s Cancer Association. is open to all who support WCA’s objectives. We welcome your inquiry.