Valerie has been an active cancer research advocate in Michigan, nationally and internationally since being diagnosed with the most aggressive form of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, in 2007. She continues to be a resource for research, caregiving and navigating a cancer diagnosis for other cancer patients, close friends and family since 1985. In 2007 following her diagnosis, she became most actively involved as a research advocate graduating from many leading programs such as the NBCC Scientific, Clinical Trials and Quality Care Project LEAD programs, as well as the AACR Scientist-Survivor Program, RAF: Research on Research, the Komen AIS Program, the 6th Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Program and the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups Leadership Program. She serves the National Breast Cancer Coalition as the Michigan Legislative Field Coordinator, is an officer in the Inflammatory Breast Cancer International Consortium and has served in many other leadership roles.
Valerie works closely with other advocates and researchers on advisory committees and scientific working groups at the University of Michigan BCAAC, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, the ISPY2 Investigational Agent Selection Committee, participates in peer review for organizations such as the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the CDMRP Breast Cancer Research Program, Komen for the Cure and the California Breast Cancer Research Program and has served as a facilitator and on planning and steering committees for national and international cancer meetings and symposia.
To keep current on the latest research she annually attends many leading cancer conferences, provides outreach through community organizations, supports groups and retreat programs and has presented on a number of topics locally, nationally and internationally.
The (NCCS) National Coalition of Cancer Survivors appointed her "Super Advocate"; she was honored with the "Local Hero Award" by the Susan G. Komen Foundation and served as a delegate from Michigan to the LAF Livestrong Summit. She serves as Ambassador for Inflammatory Breast Cancer Education and Awareness through the Morgan Welch IBC Research Program and Clinic at M.D. Anderson Center, Huston, Texas and as Ambassador for the PCORI.