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Laini Fluellen Charities, Inc. donation supports local breast cancer research

Laini Fluellen Charities, Inc. is keeping a promise to support new treatment options for triple negative breast cancer by raising funding and investing locally. Board Chair Diane Artis and Board Member Ed Williams, PhD, presented a $10,000 check February 26 to the Community Cancer Research Foundation in Munster.

Laini Fluellen Charities is a local volunteer organization founded in 2009 named after one-time Calumet City resident, Laini Fluellen. Fluellen, a locally known star athlete at Thornwood High School in the 80s, died at the young age of 38 from triple negative breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer is a rare aggressive form of cancer that typically affects younger women, has few treatment options, spreads quickly and has lower survival rates.

A fighter, Fluellen survived two years beyond her late stage diagnosis and used that time to raise awareness and educate others about triple negative breast cancer through television and newspaper interviews.

“One year after her death, Laini Fluellen Charities was established to continue its namesakes’ key work to spread the message of the importance of early detection, diagnosis and treatment,” said Diane Artis, board chairperson for Laini Fluellen Charities. “We understand firsthand how overwhelming a breast cancer diagnosis can be to both the patient and their loved ones. Our website was created to educate on the topic of triple negative breast cancer, refer patients to counselors, recommend self-exams and mammograms for early detection and raise funding for research.”

Proceeds from the charitable organization’s fundraising efforts benefit the Community Cancer Research Foundation in Munster. Work being done by the Research Foundation advances the detection, diagnosis, treatment, education and prevention of cancer. Through theFoundation’s efforts, residents have access to clinical research trials from around the globe, close to home in their own neighborhood.

“We are grateful for the continued support of Laini Fluellen Charities,” said Don Fesko, president of the Community Cancer Research Foundation Board of Directors. “Our mission is to bring the latest research advances in cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention to patients here in our community. This donation will assist us in those efforts, specifically for triple negative breast cancer patients.”

Community Cancer Research Foundation links patients with research sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and other major research cooperatives worldwide. The three hospitals of Community Healthcare System: Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart offer patients access to research for prevention and/or treatment for every stage of breast cancer, from Ductal Carcinoma In Situ or DCIS (considered a Stage 0 Breast Cancer) to advanced disease. The Foundation also offers patient access to research for the prevention and/or treatment of lung, prostate, skin and colon cancers, lymphoma, adult leukemia and multiple myeloma.

“Thank you to Laini Fluellen Charities for their dedication to promoting this important cause,” said Amber Kindt, administrator of the Community Cancer Research Foundation. “The foundation offers access to breast cancer research trials including triple negative breast cancer studies at our facility in Munster with six to eight open at any one time on a regular basis. This funding is truly appreciated on behalf of our patients.”

For more information about cancer care services through the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit or the Community Cancer Research Foundation, visit

To find out more about triple negative breast cancer and Laini Fluellen Charities, Inc., visit

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