Dr. Alisa Gean Walks 39-Miles, Raises Thousands to Fight Breast Cancer with AVON 39

For Alisa Gean, MD, raising funds and participating in 2016’s AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer was personal. She dedicated the 2-day, 39-mile walk to her mother, a breast cancer survivor, and her best friend, Dr. Annie Pendley, who lost her battle to the disease after a courageous eight-year fight last year. Dr. Gean chose to honor her lifelong friend with an ambitious goal -- raising over $20,000 for AVON 39.

Her motivation and hard work paid off. After months of fundraising and thanks to support from family, friends, and faculty and staff at UCSF and ZSFG, Dr. Gean became the top individual fundraiser out of thousands of participants across the country, surpassing her goal and raising nearly $24,000.

Dr. Gean, together with the 1900 participants of AVON’s San Francisco walk to fight breast cancer, helped to raise $4.4 million in total. These funds will be used to accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer in the Bay Area.

The Avon Breast Center of Excellence at Zuckerberg San Francisco General is one of nine breast cancer organizations that received grants to support the local community. The $750,000 grant will be used to improve access to mammography services, care delivered through the mammography van, and access to patient navigation. The grant will also support two major research projects – the first targeted to underserved BRCA mutation carriers and the second aimed at improving the implementation of survivorship plans using patient navigation.

Dr. Gean’s persistent effort to raise money to end breast cancer is far from her first display of selflessness. Over the course of 30-plus years studying traumatic brain injury (TBI), she’s worked extensively with soldiers and veterans who served the United States in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Dr. Gean travelled twice and spent a full month volunteering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany as the ICU Radiology attending physician to U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq. Her work has helped her to become an advocate and avid supporter of veterans’ rights. It also resulted in the acclaimed single-authored textbook; “Brain Injury: Lessons from War and Terrorism”. Prior to that, Dr. Gean established a TBI awareness Foundation in Vietnam termed “V-HIP” (Vietnam-Head Injury Protection). Dr. Gean also volunteers to review CT and MRI images of underprivileged patients in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa via the Pangea Global AIDS Foundation. Finally, and one of her strongest passions is improving animal welfare. She not only is financially invested in animal charities, she also volunteers for “Save the Chimps” Foundation where she reviews the brain and spine MRI’s of chimpanzees with neurologic issues.

When Dr. Gean isn’t working, volunteering, or fundraising to walk across the Bay Area, you’ll probably find her in a vineyard. She’s an owner of Hindsight Winery in Napa Valley and a soon-to-be Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is currently a Certified Sommelier by Napa Valley College, a Certified Specialist in Wine (CSW), a French Wine Scholar (FWS), a California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS), and an Advanced Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) graduate. In addition to neuroradiology and enology, Dr. Gean’s passions include yoga and 49ers football. 

Thank you, Dr. Gean for being an inspiration and joining the fight against breast cancer. Learn more about Dr. Gean by visiting her AVON 39 page today!

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