A patient’s journey with ovarian cancer inspires support for innovative researcher
By Karen Doss Bowman
Photography by Sonya Revell
Matthew P. Schlumbrecht, M.D., M.P.H.
hilanthropy enables scientists to take on innovative research projects, providing much-needed seed money for early-stage studies. Generous gifts often come from patients, like interior designer Lorraine Letendre, who turned her battle against ovarian cancer into an opportunity to help others.
Letendre visited numerous physicians before finding Matthew P. Schlumbrecht, M.D., M.P.H., co-director of Cancer Control and Prevention for Gynecologic Oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UHealth -the University of Miami Health System — her fourth oncologist — who finally gave her reason for hope.
In gratitude for Dr. Schlumbrecht’s care and compassion, Letendre committed $100,000 to establish the Lorraine Letendre Gynecologic Oncology Research Fund at Sylvester. She invited her top clients and friends to contribute, as well, boosting the fund to $1.1 million.
“We can leverage these funds to do collaborative, hard-hitting science that will directly impact patient outcomes and make us more competitive for federal grants,” said Dr. Schlumbrecht, who is also interim chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Miller School.
“Lorraine embodies the meaning of service to others,” said Dr. Schlumbrecht. “This fund recognizes how selfless her life’s work — and this philanthropic work — has been.”
Letendre hopes her gift will inspire others to contribute to gynecologic cancer research.
“The fight against gynecologic cancer is so far behind the progress breast cancer has made as a result of years of major contributions for research,” Letendre said. “But as I face this next chapter, come what may, I am both invigorated and at peace. Invigorated by my knowledge of how Dr. Schlumbrecht and his team will leverage recent scientific breakthroughs to develop new, more effective treatments for women afflicted by gynecologic cancers. At peace, knowing that the legacy I have established with the help of my dearest clients and friends will live on in the lives of countless women for years to come.”
To help, visit miami.edu/GiveSylvesterLorraineLetendre
Raisa Gutierrez, APRN, Dr. Matthew Schlumbrecht, and Lorraine Letendre at the 2021 Dolphins Challenge Cancer event