2023 Impact Report Letter


Halee Sage

Board Chair

From Our Board Chair

The Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation’s mission is to eradicate breast cancer by investing in early career practitioners and innovative research. 1 in 8 women or 13% of the population will hear, “you have breast cancer,” this year. That is one woman every two minutes. While much progress has been made in the over 30 years we have been at this work, there is much more to be done.

In 2023, almost 300,000 people were diagnosed with breast cancer, and close to 50 thousand patients passed away from this disease. With 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today, our work supporting research and treatment is more critical than ever.

2023 saw progress in the treatment and study of breast cancer. Nationally:

  • New treatment advances surfaced, including ways to effectively treat breast cancer with less treatment, lowering side effect burdens and risks
  • Several studies focused on easing side effects and quality of life
  • Study continues to focus on marginalized communities and the need for far more diverse clinical trial cohorts
  • Research and guidelines continued to support how to effectively identify the risks of breast cancer in the hopes that early intervention would lead to better outcomes

For us, 2023 was anchored in impact and collaboration. Collaboration was the theme of our signature Fall Benefit and we took significant action on this by investing $1.4 million in the formation of the Chicago Breast Cancer Research Consortium, bringing together Northwestern Medicine , RUSH University System for Health, and UChicago Medicine. We are beyond excited to convene this joint effort designed to make it easier for the region’s breast cancer patients to participate in groundbreaking clinical trials.

You can read more about this exciting initiative later in this report.

Your support drives progress and we continue to invest in the best and brightest young investigators and early career clinicians. Because of your generosity we have driven:. 

  • 25 research grants in leading institutions across the Chicagoland area. (writers’ note; roughly $5,000,000)
  • 71 fellows have been trained in breast surgery, imaging, and pathology – the next generation of breast specialists and leaders across the country (writer’s note: roughly $6,000,000+)
  • 25 years of Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Symposium, one of the most respected breast cancer meetings in the country, where leading minds learn the latest information regarding cutting-edge treatments and technology in the treatment of breast cancer (writer’s note: roughly $2,000,000)


None of this important work would be possible without the generosity of so many donors and supporters throughout the year. Looking back, we are overwhelmed by the support the Lynn Sage community provided in memory or honor of a loved one, through our Purchase4Pink and Chicago in Good Taste campaigns, in support of the Team Lynn Sage marathon team, and the incredible turnout to our Fall Benefit raising almost $1.4 million. Because of you, we exceeded our fundraising goal by 50%. We are appreciative beyond measure for the support of so many.

We would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary Lynn Sage Board and professional staff. 2023 was a year of growth and change which required trust, teamwork, passion, and faith. Working collaboratively was tremendously meaningful and full of impact and for that we are truly thankful.

With thanks to all that have helped make incredible things happen, and with optimism for the year to come,

How money was raised

Through the generosity of our donors, partners, vendors, and friends, Lynn Sage raised over $2 million through events, campaigns, and general giving. We are incredibly grateful for the community’s support of our critical mission.

Symposium Impact Travels the World

Last fall at the 25th anniversary Lynn Sage Symposium, we spoke with Dr. Huma Majeed Khan, a breast cancer surgeon from Pakistan and recipient of a Lynn Sage Foundation travel grant. One of Dr. Khan’s mentees had attended the Symposium in 2022 and brought back information and applicable learning for the breast clinic. She spoke so highly of the Symposium that Dr. Khan her self was motivated to come – and her mentee returned for a second year as well! Leading a breast clinic in Lahore, Dr. Kahn emphasized the Symposium’s transformative impact on her practice, citing valuable insights into radiation toxicities and survivorship issues. She passionately advocated for international collaboration in breast cancer research, envisioning a future where diverse global standards coexist. Read our full conversation.

Dr. Huma Majeed Khan

Change to Research Progress

Arjun Raman

Since embarking upon our Lynn Sage funded project a year ago, we have made considerable progress towards our goals: to predict which gene signatures can distinguish between triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and hormone positive breast cancers and validating our findings within the lab. We are excited to announce we made a discovery that is fundamental to the understanding of the triple negative breast cancer tumor micro-environment. It had always been presumed that the tumor micro-environment was a pseudo-random clustering of many different immune cells. However, by applying statistical analysis to gene transcription data collected on TNBC samples, we found that there are, in fact, discrete units of cells that we term “cell flocks (akin to the flocking of birds). These flocks are distributed within the tumor microenvironment and express markers that suggest a coordinated action to feed the tumor. Our second year of the Lynn Sage grant will be spent understanding the biology of these cell flocks and how they could be targeted.

Consortium announcement​

Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation is convening research leaders in a never-been-done-before collaboration that will make clinical trials more accessible to Chicago-area breast cancer patients. The initiative — called the Chicago Breast Cancer Research Consortium (CBCRC) — includes University of Chicago Medicine, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern Medicine and RUSH University for Health. This partnership is the first of its kind in Chicago and is funded by a $1.8 million donation from the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation.

Consortium trials will be offered at all three hospital systems. Having a network of trial sites provides tremendous benefits:

1. It ensures a diverse patient pool;

2. Patients can receive treatment in their own communities, with the care team they select.

Transforming Gifts into Action

Lynn Sage made purposeful investments in staffing, infrastructure, and operations to bolster growth for years to come, along with supporting our key granting areas in research, fellowships, and the 25th anniversary of the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Symposium.

Donor Profile: Happ Family

Kathryn and Scott Happ’s family had been profoundly affected by breast cancer, including their 22 (?) year-old daughter, Hannah. An email asking about an opportunity to run with Team Lynn Sage turned into much deeper conversations and with great commitment and passion the Scott and Kathryn Happ Foundation will support a $200,000 research grant in 2024-2026.

Happ Family Q&A

We first became familiar with the Lynn Sage name when our daughter was treated at the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Center at Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital.  Later, we became acquainted with the Lynn Sage Foundation when signing up for the Chicago Marathon.  Pam was super helpful in securing tickets for our family to run and we instantly became fans of Pam and the Foundation.

Our family has been affected by breast cancer on too many occasions.  Kathy, along with her mother, sister, and our daughter have all courageously and successfully battled this disease, but we dream of a day when such battles are unnecessary.

We believe that science promises a cure for breast cancer, and we hope our gift provides deserving scientists with the resources they need to make a difference.

Research is making a difference.  Advances in genetic testing, immunotherapy, and other treatments are transforming the way we treat breast cancer and leading to better outcomes. 

Lynn Sage is focused on funding scientific innovation, and we are particularly excited about the foundation’s focus on seed funding for novel ideas and young researchers.

Team Lynn Sage Impact

Team Lynn Sage was ready to run! With a passion for advancing research and ending breast cancer our 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon team was a highlight of the year. We had 52 people on Team Lynn Sage and they raised over $145,000 which was 50% more than their original fundraising goal.

Mary and Elizabeth Team Lynn Sage Q&A

I became associated with the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation thanks to my sister Maggie, my mom Mary, and Shred415. For years, my sister and mom have been taking classes and Shred415 and have formed amazing bonds with the teachers and other members. When my mom was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in the spring of 2022, the Shred family along with our own was there to support her in any way possible. That October, they dedicated a class to her with donations going to the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation. 6 days after  finishing chemo and ringing that bell, mom crushed that class and proved that she was stronger than anything put in her way. Something that still holds true to this day. I knew I wanted to run the Chicago Marathon again and Lynn Sage was the perfect charity to run for. The work that they do is so incredible and helps so many people. I was proud to be part of their 2023 team and to see my mom join their 2024 team. I can’t wait to see her conquer that race. – Elizabeth 


After seeing all the support Elizabeth got from the Lynn Sage Organization during her marathon training and meeting people from Lynn Sage pre and post race I got caught up in the excitement and knew I had to run another marathon.  I didn’t have to think twice about what charity I wanted to support.  I’m thrilled to be part of the Lynn Sage team and look forward to contributing to their fundraising goal. – Mary 

I am one of the lucky ones.  My wish is for every man or woman who hears the words, “you have breast cancer”, to be lucky enough to hear the words, “you are cancer free”.  The work that Lynn Sage does brings us closer to that reality. – Mary 

I run because I can.  I run for those who can’t.  I run to say thank you to the doctors, nurses, therapists, friends and family who stood by me for the most frightening 51 weeks of my life.  There is no better place to run than Chicago – the most beautiful city in the world with the best race spectators.  I can’t wait to show others with and post cancer that there is truly life after cancer.  I am living my life doing all the things I love most and running is one of the things at the top of that list.   The icing on the cake is the opportunity to run with my daughter. – Mary

Join us in our mission to eradicate breast cancer by investing in innovative research and early career practitioners

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