Lauren Ackerman: 2018 Vintner Grant Honoree for Breast Cancer Research

One week before becoming the new Chairwoman of COPIA, The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts, January of 2004, Lauren discovered a tumor in a routine mammogram. A biopsy revealed invasive breast cancer, and was followed by a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node surgeries. By March, 28 lymph nodes were surgically removed in Los Angeles. Lauren spent the next 16-weeks in chemotherapy and followed each treatment with a massage the day after. After a short summer break, Lauren then began 10 ½ weeks of radiation until the end of October. Along her journey, Lauren wondered if she was going to live through the experience, and pondered about resigning from the numerous Boards she served. Lauren lost her mother to breast cancer and her father to prostate cancer and lymphoma. Dr. Amando Giuliano provided words of hope to Lauren, “You are not going to die.”

“Surviving cancer made me stronger.”

A sisterhood of women in the Napa Valley became her “Guardian Angels” and surrounded Lauren with love and support. Lauren is grateful to a loving community that provided her with strength in numbers.