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Cheryl Herman 

Cheryl HermanA Family Affair

Cheryl Herman remembers the moment her rabbi told her, "When people grieve, they must let themselves feel the pain—but then they pick themselves up, learn from the experience, and do something about it." Shortly after the death of her sister, Eileen, from breast cancer in 1999, Cheryl followed this advice and turned her family's loss into a virtual vocation.

Together with her husband, Scott, and their family and friends, Cheryl established the Eileen Stein Jacoby Fund at Fox Chase Cancer Center the following year to support breast cancer research. The group raises money through initiatives such as doing holiday gift-wrapping at a local mall, hosting group excursions to New York City, holding fitness events with area youth, and selling breast cancer apparel.

The group directs the use of the funds to advance Fox Chase research. "The focus is on supporting new scientists," Herman says. "Technology will become outdated, so we want to invest in people."

In May 2011, the Hermans and 90 of their family and friends gathered at Fox Chase to celebrate a milestone: $1 million raised since the fund was established. "It was so exciting to be able to tell everyone," says Cheryl. "We celebrated for a moment, and then we started planning our next event."

After a dozen years, fundraising and advocacy for Fox Chase has become "an ongoing part of our lives," says Cheryl. "We're all so invested, it's like the fund is a member of the family. Our winter vacation gets planned around the annual gift-wrapping fundraiser."

Cheryl's children, Justin and Jillian, who were 13 and 6 when the fund was established, have joined their cousins in helping with the group's events in recent years and are now accomplished fundraisers in their own right. "This experience has had a profound influence on them," Cheryl says. "I'm so proud of the adults that it has helped them become."

Looking to the future of the Eileen Stein Jacoby Fund, Cheryl sees endless possibilities. "With the next generation getting involved, I see so many opportunities out there to raise money," says Cheryl. "Until there's a cure, we'll keep on going."

2011