Laureate Society of the Tarrant Area: Creating Tomorrow's Miracles Through Innovation

Founding members of the Laureate Society of the Tarrant Area: Jareen Schmidt, JES Edwards Foundation; Debbie and Steve Bryant: American Cancer Society research Fellow; Thomas H. Scheuermann, Jr., PhD; Maria Clark, Senior Vice President, American Cancer Society; Janeen and Bill Lamkin.

In North Texas, a passionate group of Laureate Society members is busy creating tomorrow's miracles.

Every year, millions of people look to research conducted or funded by the American Cancer Society to find the answers in their fight against cancer. While the Society funds an estimated $100 million in grants each year, a significant number of lifesaving research ideas are approved, but go unfunded due to budget constraints, and cannot be pursued by investigators. Referred to as "pay-ifs”* (approved, paid if money is available); any one of these projects potentially holds the next breakthrough that leads to more hope for those facing cancer.

In 2006, the Laureate Society of the Tarrant Area founding members Jareen Schmidt, Steve and Debbie Bryant, and Janeen and Bill Lamkin, (pictured above) decided to call on their community to help bridge the gap. They coined their research fundraising efforts "Creating Tomorrow's Miracles" and went to work raising money for an unfunded pay-if grant. It was a bold, new approach to ask their peers to invest directly in research, but the impact was tangible, and the outcomes, potentially lifesaving. Others in the community agreed. Within one year, they successfully raised $138,000 for a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Texas Southwestern. It was such a rewarding experience, they decided to do it again in 2007. The rest is history.

We are excited to continue this important work in the community and lead the way on funding investigators whose work could provide an answer that saves millions of lives. It's been an amazing experience. Together, we are helping move science from the lab table to bedside, and help save more lives faster.

Steve Bryant - Lead Volunteer

Eleven years later, the Laureate Society of the Tarrant Area has expanded to include investors across North Texas. With the steadfast leadership of the group's founders at the helm, they have successfully funded 27 pay-if grants and one professorship- grants totaling more than $4 million that would have remained unfunded without their efforts. Their program model has been such a success; it's taking hold across the state. A similar Laureate Society chapter is forming in West Texas, and other cities across the country are taking notice.

The American Cancer Society applauds the efforts of this dedicated group of Laureate Society members, and thanks them for their tireless effort to save more lives by attacking cancer from every angle.