News & Updates

Colleen’s Dream Foundation, with the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation (MDRTF), Gifts $10,000 to the University of Chicago for Ovarian Cancer Research

As part of their 2015 end of year funding strategy, Colleen’s Dream Foundation, with support of the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation (MDRTF), has gifted $10,000 to University of Chicago to support ovarian cancer research being conducted by Dr. Karen Watters, according to Colleen’s Dream Foundation President Billy Cundiff.

“We are honored to support a promising young investigator from Dr. Lengyel’s lab at the University of Chicago,” says Cundiff. “Dr. Karen Watters is performing valuable microRNA research which can help in the battle to defeat ovarian cancer.”

According to Dr. Watters, the microRNA research she is focused on has important implications for the long-term survival of ovarian cancer patients.

“Although the majority of high-grade serous ovarian cancer patients initially respond well to chemotherapy, most will eventually relapse and succumb to chemoresistant disease,” says Dr. Watters. “My research focuses on the microRNAs (regulatory short non-coding RNAs) of not just the tumor itself, but also the tumor microenvironment and how the cross-communication between these two compartments can contribute to both innate and acquired resistance to chemotherapy in these patients.”

Dr. Watters says understanding why ovarian cancers stop responding to chemotherapy may be key to understanding the disease itself. She says support from organizations like Colleen’s Dream Foundation and the Million Dollar Round Table, is important in allowing her to pursue this question.

“This gift will allow me to study unique aspects of the mechanism of ovarian cancer seeding and why these cancers stop responding to chemotherapy,” says Watters. “This additional knowledge has the potential to help us gain further insight into the biology of this disease.”

Cundiff says supporting ovarian cancer research like Dr. Watters is the goal of Colleen’s Dream.

“Colleen’s Dream is honored to support Dr. Watters’ work,” says Cundiff. “We are truly excited about the possible impact her research may have in defeating ovarian cancer.”


The University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences one of the nation’s leading academic medical institutions, has been at the forefront of medical care since 1927, when it first opened to patients. Today, it comprises the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, a top 10 medical school in the country; the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division, a section committed to scientific discovery; and the University of Chicago Medical Center, consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Twelve Nobel Prize winners in physiology or medicine have been affiliated with the University of Chicago Medicine.


The MDRT Foundation is the charitable arm of the Million Dollar Round Table, The Premier Association of Financial Professionals. The MDRT Foundation helps MDRT members maximize their philanthropic efforts in their own communities and worldwide.

In 1956, MDRT President, Arthur F. Priebe, CLU directed a corporate charitable gift in his honor to support the larger needs of the community, which led to the creation of the MDRT Foundation in 1959. During the next 10 years, MDRT members pooled their resources together to strengthen this newly founded charitable organization. By combining the generosity of each contributor, the MDRT Foundation is a powerful vehicle to maximize the global impact of MDRT members committed to improving the life of children and families in need in communities worldwide.

Since 1959, the MDRT Foundation has awarded more than USD 30 million in life-changing grants to charitable organizations worldwide. MDRT Foundation grants support social service agencies, education and advocacy programs, medical agencies and many other causes committed to empowering people in need. Some of the organizations that have received funding include Make-A-Wish International, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International and The Salvation Army.


Colleen’s Dream Foundation started in 2012 and supports research for early detection and improved treatment for ovarian cancer. The story of Colleen’s Dream started in 2007 when Colleen Drury –Nicole Cundiff’s mother and Billy Cundiff’s mother-in-law- was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. The family became aware of a new world that was filled with invasive surgery, harsh chemotherapy, and lots of uncertainty, and realized they needed to help others who were dealing with ovarian cancer.

Colleen’s Dream Foundation believes it is important to raise money for research that will lead to reliable early detection testing and improved treatment for ovarian cancer. Because so little is known about ovarian cancer in proportion to other women’s health issues, there is an incredible opportunity for research and education.

Colleen’s Dream Foundation is a qualified 501 (c) (3) tax exempt non-profit organization based in Phoenix, Arizona.