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Our Key to a Cure Gala is an event for the scleroderma community to come together to celebrate our accomplishments and pay tribute to our inspiring honorees for their vision, leadership and support of the scleroderma community and the Foundation.
The Scleroderma Foundation of California is dedicated to supporting the needs of people with scleroderma and their families.
All Funds raised will support our mission: EMPOWERING the scleroderma community to live BETTER lives through programs dedicated to SUPPORT, EDUCATION, and RESEARCH.
DR. FRANCESCO BOIN
Professor of Medicine; Director, Division of Rheumatology and Director, Cedars-Sinai Scleroderma Program in the Kao Autoimmunity Institute.
Will be honored posthumously as the first recipient of “The Helen Greenburg Spirit of Leadership Award” named in her honor.
Scleroderma patient, dedicated volunteer and our Past President of the Board of Directors
The recipient of this award is bestowed upon those few who have dedicated themselves professionally to serving patients in the scleroderma community and for their contributions that have truly made a difference. This year we are honored to recognize Dr. Francesco Boin, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and the Director of the new Scleroderma Program in the Kao Autoimmunity Institute at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
He received his M.D. degree from the University of Padua Medical School (Italy), completing his internal medicine residency training at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) and a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical and experimental rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). He has been Director of the Translational Research program at the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center for a decade before joining the University of California San Francisco (San Francisco, CA) in 2015. There he has held the position of Professor of Medicine and established the UCSF Scleroderma Center.
He is a well accomplished clinician and investigator with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of scleroderma and other fibrosing skin disorders. His research focused on the genetic basis and biology of immune cells involved in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis, investigating the role of effector T cells in driving pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic pathways leading to scleroderma-specific tissue damage.
He has also established in partnership with the National Institute of Health the “Genome Research in African American Scleroderma Patients” (GRASP) study, a multicenter consortium involving 25 US academic centers aimed at discovering new disease-associated susceptibility genes in African American patients affected by scleroderma using next-generation sequencing platforms. He has been involved with teaching and mentoring medical students, residents and post-doctoral fellows throughout his academic career.
Will be presented to the Greenburg/Kroh family in loving memory of Helen Greenburg, and the first recipient of “The Helen Greenburg Spirit of Leadership Award” an award named in her honor.
For over 13 years, Helen was a key member and leader of the Board of Directors of the Scleroderma Foundation of California. She created the Key to a Cure Gala and grew it to the major success it is today. She was a dedicated fundraiser and a cheerleader for our cause. Helen passed away after a 20-year battle with Scleroderma. She was deeply loved and admired by all who knew her.
HELEN GREENBURG – her story written 2009
Helen was diagnosed with scleroderma in 2000. It was a frightening and shocking diagnosis. But Helen’s amazing spirit prevailed and, along with the support of her family and many friends, she assembled a truly amazing team of doctors, researchers, and clinicians to manage the illness. She had many, many challenging times for sure, including an additional diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension about ten years after her scleroderma diagnosis.
Helen was thankful to the Scleroderma Foundation for assisting her to navigate the medical system and providing the opportunity to meet other patients. Together, they learned how to manage the disease and how to stay positive and support each other. She also knew that not every scleroderma patient and their family was as lucky. She knew much work needed to be done. It was at her first support group meeting that Helen met Josephine Battyany and Josephine asked her to help support and grow the Scleroderma Foundation. And did she ever!
With her extraordinary family and group of friends at her side always, Helen committed to raising funds for the Foundation, providing support to patients and their families, and expanding community awareness of the disease. She grew a small social gathering of friends and family into our Key to A Cure Annual Gala. She served as Gala co-chair since its beginning and for the past 13 years, she served as a member of the Southern California Chapter Board of Directors, including six years as Vice President.
Helen’s commitments accomplished much to improve the lives of those with this dreaded disease – but there is still much to be done.
To honor her memory and carry her legacy forward her friends and family established The Helen Greenburg Memorial Fund in 2021 to further her devotion to supporting the Foundation. The Fund has raised a total of $125,000 to support our patient services programs. The Foundation and all those who knew her will forever treasure and remember her and her dedication to making a difference in the lives of those affected by scleroderma.
The Janie S. Benner Memorial Spirit Award was established 20 years ago by the Benner family in honor of their mother Janie a dedicated volunteer who devoted her life to helping others and growing the foundation into what it is today. This award is a tribute to her unwavering commitment to the Foundation, scleroderma community and all who are part of it.
This year we proudly honor Peggy Hickman a scleroderma patient, dedicated volunteer and Past President of the Board of Directors as recipient of the Janie S. Benner Memorial Spirit Award.
Peggy was diagnosed with scleroderma in 2005. After being advised to contact UCLA through a close friend. She realized how fortunate she was to have two out of five Scleroderma Specialists in the nation at that time, Dr. Furst and Dr. Clements and they were both in the same place. It was through their education and her determination to fight her disease, that gave her confidence to advocate and help other patients and their families.
UCLA is where she met (now) lifetime friend Tina Burger our Director of Patient Services, Josephine Battyany our Office Manager and Bonnie Davidson a Support Group Leader. With their inspiration, she became more involved with the foundation. Peggy organized a team and raised funds at our 4thAnnual Stepping Out for a Cure event. She was even a volunteer for the Gala Event. Peggy with Dr. Clements filmed a segment on the Mystery Diagnosis. Peggy has attended, support group meetings, hosted fundraising events and in 2017 she joined the foundation’s Board of Directors.
In 2018 with the mentoring of Chris Pettit, Peggy was elected to serve as the Board President. Not knowing just how her commitment would be tested. As her term began in 2019 and through 2021, Josephine announced she was to retire. The Covid-19 pandemic altered the lives of us all. Even more so to the Scleroderma Community. It also posed a direct threat to our foundation’s ability to continue its mission. The National organization announced a new business strategy plan that did not align with our vision and mission to support local communities.
In 2022 she agreed, at the Boards request to extend her term and continue leading us through the pandemic and negotiations with the National organization. Her non-wavering commitment to the patients we serve and the mission of our Foundation, has led us to our new path forward.
As 2022 came to a close Peggy’s term as president came to an end and today, we are Proud to be the Scleroderma Foundation of California an Independent organization. We have expanded our reach to Northern California communities, and we are excited to say Las Vegas, Nevada and Honolulu, Hawaii and we now have a Medical Advisory Board.
In 2018 Her one wish “was to see more growth” all that was accomplished plus so much more is to come!
PLEASE PRINT AND MAKE ALL CHECKS PAYABLE TO:
“SCLERODERMA FOUNDATION OF CALIFORNIA”
22nd Key to a Cure GALA
6709 La Tijera Blvd., #200
Los Angeles, CA 90045
or online at www.myscleroderma.org/gala
(Federal Tax I.D is 77-0229244)