Mary Jo Boler and her husband, John, have pledged to match every dollar donated, up to $2 million, to the American Cancer Society's Illinois division to research a cure for breast cancer, the Chicago Tribune reports.
According to American Cancer Society officials, the gift from the Illinois couple is the largest ever made to the Illinois chapter and the biggest donation to the national organization this year. The Bolers, who will decide which projects are funded with the money raised, have been directly affected by breast cancer: Mary Jo and one of her sisters are breast cancer survivors, while another sister died of the disease. The American Cancer Society predicts that 40,600 women will die of breast cancer this year.
"It will enable the American Cancer Society to make some significant grants and make some significant progress in research," said Wayne R. Hanson, president of the Illinois division of the ACS. "It will go to fund new projects — this is in addition to what normally comes in.... There are any number of projects where we are really close to succeeding, especially in the field of genetics."