Triple-negative breast cancer can be difficult to treat, but a new clinical trial currently in development at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center could potentially change the standard of care for this deadly disease.

Mom continues daughter’s fight to raise breast cancer awareness

This is the second post in a two-part series about UK Markey Cancer Center researchers’ efforts to improve treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, a deadly form of the disease. Check out Part One here.

Funding for triple-negative breast cancer has been a major focus for Lexington resident Cindy Praska, whose daughter Whitney was diagnosed with the disease in 2007 at age 24. After undergoing a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation at another hospital, Whitney was deemed cancer-free.

In the years following her diagnosis, Whitney became an advocate for breast cancer awareness and fundraising, becoming actively involved in the Frankfort Country Club’s Rally for the Cure, which has raised money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the UK Markey Cancer Center for nearly 20 years.

Though her initial treatment for triple-negative breast cancer was successful, Whitney then developed bone cancer, or osteosarcoma, in 2012. This time, she elected to have her surgery out of state and came to Markey for her chemotherapy. Genetic testing revealed she carried a P53 genetic mutation, which was the cause of her original cancer, and combined with the radiation she had received prior, also caused her osteosarcoma. Despite Whitney’s and her doctors’ best efforts, her cancer metastasized and she succumbed to the disease in November of that year.

Carrying the torch for her daughter, Cindy continues to push for education, awareness and research toward triple-negative breast cancer and is still heavily involved in fundraising.

This Saturday, Oct. 15, Cindy and the team behind the Frankfort Country Club Rally for the Cure have planned a “party with a purpose” called Bourbon & Jazz for the Cure to celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary. Held at the Frankfort Country Club on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., this special fundraising gala includes a silent and live auction featuring limited-edition Buffalo Trace bourbon bottles, and the funds raised from the gala will directly benefit the research team behind Markey’s proposed triple-negative breast cancer clinical trial.

“Whitney helped bring awareness to this disease, and it is so rewarding to me that work is progressing so that more young women her age will live to marry, have a family, and be able to see their young children grow up,” Cindy said. “It has given me a purpose to be an advocate for these causes and it’s an honor to be supporting Markey, who we called family and home the last year of her life.”


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