If you haven't been directly affected by breast cancer, you may know of someone who has. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and people from all over the country are showing their support by wearing pink. An Alaska organization showed their support by awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight it. 

Every year, the Alaska Run for Women organizes a race to raise money to fight breast cancer.  Thursday night, it awarded $231,125 to researchers and programs aimed at fighting the disease.

The University of Alaska Anchorage Clinical Research program was awarded $15,000. It is using nanoparticles to help the body fight cancer. One of its investigators says, at first, funding was difficult. 

"When we first started doing this research it's kind of out there, so it's hard to get funding... And we wrote to some big organizations and weren't able to get it," said UAA assistant professor Max Kulberg. "We wrote to the Alaska Run for Women and they came through with a grant and they pretty much funded us the whole way through. To be funded locally and for that to really drive this project is a big deal for us. And we can't say enough about their support. We wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for them."

The largest grant awarded was $65,000 to the Young Women's Club of America (YWCA) Encore Plus program which provides free mammograms to women in Anchorage.

The 11 organizations awarded include:

  • YWCA Encore Plus -- $65,000
  • American Cancer Society (ACS) -- $4,500
  • Breast Cancer Center for Detection -- $20,000
  • Norton Sound Health Corporation -- $22,625
  • Let Every Women Know -- $4,000
  • Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) -- $19,500
  • Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic (KBFPC) -- $30,000
  • Affinityfilms -- $6,250
  • Anchorage Young Cancer Coalition (AYCC) -- $2,250
  • UAA Clinical Research -- $15,000
  • The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) -- $42,000

At least 70 percent of the grants stay in Alaska.