September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and Scottsdale-based Colleen’s Dream Foundation is partnering with local organizations on numerous fundraising programs. All funds raised in September will be granted to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to fund research that builds on TGen’s discovery that mutations in a gene known as SMARCA4 drive a specific type of extremely aggressive ovarian cancer that most often affects girls and young women. 

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological cancer and is projected to take the lives of 14,080 women in 2017. Of all women diagnosed, 25 percent will die in the first year. Colleen’s Dream is dedicated to funding research that leads to an early detection test for ovarian cancer, as such a test does not exist.

“A reliable early-detection test for ovarian cancer would effectively save the lives of thousands of women every year,” said Nicole Cundiff, CEO of Colleen’s Dream Foundation. “We believe in TGen researchers and the cutting-edge work they’ve done in recent years. We’re honored to partner with such an esteemed research organization, especially one in our own backyard.”

TGen is a nonprofit biomedical research institute, founded in 2002 and headquartered in Arizona. The institute specializes in using a patient’s unique genetic blueprint to discover the causes of and develop smarter treatments for complex conditions like cancer, neurological disorders and infectious diseases.

“The support of Colleen’s Dream has been critical for helping TGen push the frontiers of precision medicine in our quest to improve the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. Their support has specifically accelerated our program focused on identification of new treatments matched to genetic mutations which we at TGen have discovered to commonly occur in ovarian cancers,” said Dr. Will Hendricks, an Assistant Professor in TGen’s Integrated Cancer Genomics Division.

Colleen’s Dream will launch two new programs this year: Shop for the Dream and Dine for the Dream. A weekend-long initiative, Shop for the Dream will take place on Saturday, Sept. 30 and on Sunday, Oct. 1 with participating retailers at Scottsdale Fashion Square donating a percentage of proceeds to Colleen’s Dream.

New neighborhood sushi restaurant, Kaiyo Sushi + Bar in Scottsdale is partnering with Colleen’s Dream for Dine for the Dream. For every order purchased of the specially created “Colleen’s Roll,” $1 will be donated to the ovarian cancer foundation. As an added bonus, the roll will live permanently on the menu, and the donations will continue indefinitely beyond September.

Additionally, Kaiyo Sushi will host a Duel of the Kitchens, a six-course battle between Head Sushi Chef Todd Register and Head Chef Jason McGrath on Sept. 7 from 7pm-9pm. A seat at the table costs $100 with 25 percent of the proceeds being donated to Colleen’s Dream. 

Listed below are all of Colleen’s Dream fundraising events and awareness initiatives during the month of September: 

  • Sept. 1 – Talking Stick Resort will light up teal for ovarian cancer awareness all day and night.
  • Sept. 6 OR 8 – Nicole’s daughter Chloe Cundiff will hold a lemonade stand in the lobby of TGen’s headquarters in Phoenix.
  • Sept. 7 – Duel of the Kitchens at Kaiyo Sushi + Bar in Scottsdale.  Head Chef Jason McGrath battles Head Sushi Chef Todd Register in a six-course battle for the taste buds. Courses will be paired with sake, Japanese whiskey and other hand crafted cocktails.
  • Every Sunday in September, Nicole’s daughter Chloe Cundiff will hold a lemonade stand at The Henry in Phoenix from 10am – 12pm benefitting Colleen’s Dream Foundation.
  • Sept. 1 – 30 – Online jeweler, Silver & Sage, is selling Colleen’s Dream branded bracelets for $48, and all proceeds will be donated to the foundation. Bracelets can be purchased here.
  • Sept. 1 – 30 – Dine for the Dream at Kaiyo Sushi + Bar. With every Colleen’s Roll ordered, $1 will be donated to Colleen’s Dream.
  • Sept. 1 – 30 – Spa for the Dream at Hotel Valley Ho, Luminosa Beauty Bar, Amazing Lash Studio, Spa Lamar and The Sparkle Bar. Each location will donate a percentage of proceeds from a specific service or product. Visit for more details.
  • Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 – Shop for the Dream at Scottsdale Fashion Square and participating retailers will donate a portion of proceeds to Colleen’s Dream.

Colleen’s Dream was created in honor of Nicole’s mother, Colleen, who lost a five-year battle with ovarian cancer in 2013. Before her passing, Colleen served on the board of directors to the foundation, which has since granted more than $600,000 to ovarian cancer researchers.