When a significant part of a person’s life is devoted to the fight against cancer, it helps to have the full support of family.
“They’re going to be more invested in anyone else, because they watched me go through it,” Carol Glock said about her own treatment in 2013 for inflammatory breast cancer, “and they know how close it came to me not being here.”
Two years after the treatment proved successful, the Bethel Park resident started the nonprofit Glock Foundation, with the mission of raising money toward breast cancer research, clinical trials, education and patient care in the Pittsburgh region.
Ever since, the members of Carol’s immediate family continue to make significant contributions toward the cause. Her husband, Tim, serves as secretary of the foundation’s board.
“He’s a retired government employee, so he knows how to get into all the detail,” Carol said.
Their oldest son, Jason, a cost engineer by profession, is the board’s treasurer. His brother Justin, a technical writer, handles social media for the foundation. And computer engineer Jonathan Glock manages the website.
As for their mother, her determination to help others stems from what she experienced following a totally unexpected diagnosis of a rare and particularly aggressive form of cancer.
“I felt when I was having chemotherapy that my payback to God or to mankind was going to be to develop this organization, especially since a clinical-trial drug saved my life,” Carol said.
Her surgical oncologist, Dr. Thomas Julian of Allegheny Health Network, told Carol about a clinical trial for neratinib, a drug that targets and blocks proteins that help cancer cells to grow. She was accepted for the trial and experienced positive results almost immediately.
Through the Glock Foundation, she often shares her story in encouraging individuals, nearly 10,000 so far, to consider a clinical trial as a viable option in conjunction with other forms of treatment.
“People are under the misconception that if they go on a clinical trial, it’s separate from the standard of care,” she said. “It is not. You get the same treatment that everyone else would.”
In addition to providing pertinent information, the foundation assists breast cancer clinical trial patients with the added costs of transportation, meals and childcare. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has given more than $20,000 toward trying to ease the financial and emotional burden for breast cancer patients and their families.
An educator by profession – she is an adjunct professor and coordinator of the physical education programs at Washington & Jefferson College – Carol regularly organizes seminars and similar types of sessions, including a recent one conducted virtually addressing “What’s New in Metastatic Breast Cancer.”
Also with regard to education, the Glock Foundation has established a fund for breast cancer physicians to receive training on new targeted therapies for breast cancer clinical trials.
Launched last year, it was an initiative in the African-American community to educate about breast cancer screening, treatment and clinical trials. The program includes a “train the trainer” model, by which individuals learn to disseminate relevant information.
One of the key points is the importance of self-examination.
“You hear about so many who have just gone for their mammograms, and then two months later, they find something, even though they say we only have to go once a year,” Carol said. “That’s one of the things I teach even the college students, to do a self-breast exam.”
At Washington & Jefferson, members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority have raised more than $15,000 for the Glock Foundation, through activities including a “Catch the Cure” baseball tournament and a video competition through the social networking service TikTok.
The foundation’s main fundraising effort is the annual Far Away Fairways competition, in which participants can golf at any regular or miniature course and then submit their scores.
Donations from the public, of course, always are welcome as a way to help the Glocks, and all the others who volunteer their time toward the cause, to continue to help others.