Forbes-SHOOK's Top Women Wealth Advisors Pledge $500,000 to Breast Cancer Research

The Top Women Wealth Advisors from Forbes-SHOOK pledged $500,000 to funding breast cancer research.

   Liz and R.J. Shook ask Top Women Advisors to stand and be counted as charitable donors to Susan G. ... [+] Komen.  
  SHOOK Research
Liz and R.J. Shook asked Top Women Advisors to publicly contribute money to Susan G. ... [+] Komen's

The top investment firms and wealth advisors pledged more than $500,000 toward development of a new blood test that would make it easier to detect breast cancer earlier.

The donations were made at the Forbes-SHOOK Top Women Wealth Advisors Summit, which was held in Palm Beach, Fla., from May 23-25.

The Susan G. Komen foundation, SHOOK Research and Forbes, publisher of the Forbes-SHOOK top advisor rankings, spearheaded the fundraising effort.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology says that breast cancer is the leading cause of death in U.S. women, with heart disease following closely behind it. The survival rate from breast cancer is 90%, but the five-year survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is only 29%.

The money from Palm Beach's top financial advisors will be used to fund a liquid biopsy that can detect cancer cells in the bloodstream. Early treatment and detection are seen as essential for fighting breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Foundation has funded more than 530 metastatic research projects and 50 clinical trials,

The financial advisors were moved by the story of R.J. Shook, who lost his mother to breast cancer when he was 17 years old.

R.J. Shook said that losing a parent, or any loved one to cancer, changed his life forever and forced him to make a commitment toward raising money for the cure of cancer.

“Early detection is everything,” R.J. Shook said in his interview with the Washington Post. “If this test works, why would anyone have to die from breast cancer?”

Shook&Co, the research company co-founded by Liz Shook, who is its COO, was founded after her aunt's death from breast cancer and her mother's battle with the disease.

"The day after I graduated from college, my mother called me and said, 'I found a lump in my breast and I have breast cancer,'” Liz Shook recounted. "That's when everything fell apart."

At the Forbes/SHOOK conference, attendees heard about Pam Kohl's breast cancer diagnosis in 2009, when she was 57-years-old.

Kohl had a lumpectomy, underwent radiation treatments and stayed on endocrine therapy for five years. Kohl had no family history and an analysis of her tumor showed a very low risk of recurrence.

In 2014, it was announced that Kohl had been cured of cancer. Two years later, Kohl was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She is currently taking an oral chemo drug and endocrine therapy. "We're still optimistic after five years," said Kohl, who directs the Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative.

Shook's company has been a major contributor to charitable organizations, raising more than $1.4 million for Make-A-Wish, over $1 million for the Children's Cancer Research Fund and $1 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Jeremy Shook, the son of Liz and R.J. Shook, led the St. Jude campaign while he was in high school in Boca Raton, Fla. The money will be used to help treat children with brain cancer.

"Shook says that one of our goals is to create a greater awareness in the financial community about the importance of philanthropy," said Shook. "Generous donations save lives and make the world a better place."

SHOOK Research, after a thorough investigation by its in-person meetings with financial advisors, identifies the best financial advisors in the country. The rankings are published by Forbes.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to funding the fight against breast cancer. It was created in 1982 to fulfill a promise Nancy G. Brinker made to her dying sister, Susan Komen, when she founded it.

So far, Susan G. Komen has invested more than $2.9 billion in research, community health outreach, and programs in more than 60 countries. Komen credits its efforts with helping reduce breast cancer deaths by 42% between 1989 and 2019.