A Glimmer of Hope Foundation is a Pittsburgh-based breast cancer foundation. It was started by Diana Napper in 1994 to honor the wishes of her best friend, Carol Jo Weiss Friedman, who lost her battle with the disease in 1990. Diana, a wife and mother of four children, promised that she would pursue her dream as a jewelry designer and open a jewelry business that would fund a hospice in Carol Jo’s name. As the dream evolved, Diana realized that her mission was to create a venue to support breast cancer patients and their loved ones. With that as her goal, A Glimmer of Hope Foundation was born. It remains a grass roots effort as a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a staff of 50 volunteers committed to the fight against breast cancer through cancer research and programs, and most importantly, studies in premenopausal breast cancer, as breast cancer in younger women tends to be more aggressive.
Through fundraising events and the generous support of many people, businesses, sports celebrities and sports organizations, six million dollars for breast cancer projects has been donated to Allegheny Health Network, Magee Women’s Research Institute and the Hillman Cancer Center. A Glimmer of Hope Foundation has received tremendous support because of the transparency of the programs it supports; the satisfaction people receive from seeing their contributions at work, and the knowledge that the funds raised stay in the Pittsburgh area.
In 2015, a SenoClaire tomosynthesis machine was installed and began operating at the Wexford Health & Wellness Pavilion of the Allegheny Health Network thanks to a $171,000 donation made by A Glimmer of Hope Foundation. The SenoClaire tomosynthesis helps physicians differentiate benign from dangerous abnormalities, and detect cancer in its earliest stages. This machine was the first of its kind in the United States. Also, in addition to the tomosynthesis machine GOH has purchased an Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS), this machine detects breast cancer in dense breasts.
In 2016, GOH created the ‘Home for Hope’, which is located in the Wexford Health and Wellness Pavilion and West Penn Hospital. This is a designated space for integrative health services for women under 40 years of age. The Home for Hope includes massage therapy, acupuncture, transportation, and childcare.
Next, with the generous support of the Glimmer of Hope Foundation, Magee-Women’s Research Institute and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center are now examining a new and novel technology for monitoring and understanding breast cancer from a blood draw, also known as a ‘liquid biopsy’. This new study is setting protocol in research that will now impact the entire United States. Furthermore, this will allow real-time monitoring of the size and severity of breast cancer tumors and its response to therapy.
Also, since they believe that research is the starting point for new therapies, they have funded a study that focuses on localized immunotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. This study is being operated under Drs. Albert and Vera Donnenberg.
Although their efforts do not stop there. A Glimmer of Hope Foundation has also teamed up with AHN to offer non-pregnant women 18-39 genetic testing as a preventive against cancer in younger women.
Finally, in October 2020, GOH opened The Glimmer of Hope Metastatic Breast Cancer Center at AHN. This center has been a lifelong goal for A Glimmer of Hope. It is dedicated to treating metastatic breast cancer, which is the most difficult type of breast cancer. They are hopeful that their services, programs, research, and technology are only the start for what they can do for the people of Pittsburgh.