The Cure Breast Cancer License Plate Initiative, a volunteer non-profit group, unveiled the first-ever Massachusetts Breast Cancer License Plates on October 31, 2006. All proceeds from plate sales directly benefit The Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. To date, over $1,000,000 in funds have been made possible through this initiative.
The initial registration fee for the plate is $50 and the special plate fee is $40. The breast cancer license plates are available to the general public at all RMV branches and online through the Massachusetts RMV website. Of the $40 plate fee, $12 goes to the Registry of Motor Vehicles for plate production and the remaining $28 is deposited in the Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund at Tufts Medical Center. The plate is renewable every two years, with the full $90 renewal fee going to the Zaniboni Fund. The RMV’s schedule of fees can be viewed on the Mass.gov RMV website.
Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund
Diane Connolly-Zaniboni was a Tufts Medical Center patient and South Boston mom who lost her battle with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) in 2000 at the age of 39. After Diane's death, a group of family and friends led by Deb McNeill and Janice Connolly-Laubenstein launched an effort to create a license plate that would raise funds to support research in her memory.
In October 2008, Tufts Medical Center announced a scholarship program to honor Diane’s vision by awarding two-year grants of $85,000 per year to a selected “Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Scholar in Breast Cancer Research.” Funds will support the cost of the work and sponsor an annual lecture on breast cancer research.
The Zaniboni Scholars
The first Zaniboni scholar in 2008 was Rachel Buchsbaum, MD, Director, GME; Designated Institutional Official for the ACGME; Chair, GME Committee; Physician, Breast Health Center; Director, Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program; Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine and Principal Investigator, Molecular Oncology Research Institute.
Dr. Buchsbaum's research involves investigating the links between breast cancer and metastasized cancer and also focuses specifically on inflammatory breast cancer and its relation to metastasized cancer. Visit Dr. Buchsbaum’s laboratory website for more information >
”The kind of breast cancer that Diane Connolly-Zaniboni had is particularly prone to invading tissues and spreading to other organs, which is what makes it so deadly. The work we are doing in my lab is focused on understanding the precise steps that enable breast cancers to invade and spread in this fashion," Buchsbaum says. "What the friends and family of Diane have done in leading this initiative is just as important as any scientific breakthrough, because funding makes these breakthroughs possible."
The second Zaniboni Scholoar, Guo-fu Hu, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Tufts University of Medicine; Principal Investigator, Molecular Oncology Research Institute, was presented with the competitive Zaniboni Scholar Award in Breast Cancer Research in Fall 2016. The award provides funding for Dr. Hu for the next two years to support his research project, “Targeting Angiogenin/PlexinB2 to Chemosensitize Breast Cancer Stem Cells and Prevent Bone Metastasis.” Visit Dr. Hu's laboratory website for more information >
In June 2000, Diane Connolly-Zaniboni lost her battle with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) at the age of 39. Despite her ongoing struggle, in her last two years she pushed for the creation of the license plates to benefit breast cancer research.
“We are thrilled to have achieved our goal of getting this plate on the road. This plate means so much to so many people,” said Deb McNeill, one of the leaders of the license plate project, who is also a breast cancer survivor. “The plate honors the memory of those who have lost their battle with breast cancer and serves as a symbol of hope, strength and support to those currently fighting the disease.”
“I can’t begin to express how happy I am that this day has come and that Diane’s dream is now a reality,” said Janice Connolly-Laubenstein, Diane’s sister and another leader in the plate initiative. “I am so grateful to everyone who came together to make this happen. I know wonderful things will come out of this initiative and hopefully it will help with finding a cure for breast cancer.”
Ways to Give
For more information regarding the Cure Breast Cancer license plate and the Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund, or to make a direct donation, call 617-636-7656.