It’s not every day a winemaker has the opportunity to partner with a national nonprofit for a collaboration that has the potential to truly make a difference. One day, through Breck Philip, a customer and also the founder of Blue Gaucho Project, Charles heard about Dr. Ernie Bodai and the tremendous impact he is making through Cure Breast Cancer, Inc. and the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, a fundraising postal stamp that supports breast cancer research. The stamp has been wildly successful, even outselling the Elvis Presley Stamp and raising millions of dollars for much-needed research since it was released almost twenty years ago. This inspired the idea for the Cure Series—surely, Charles thought, if post stamps can create so much good, then something as beloved as wine could have a greater impact. Charles immediately reached out to Dr. Bodai with his idea and the rest is history in the making.
A humble man of humble origin, Ernie Bodai, M.D. was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1951. His family endured tumultuous times, living in a bomb shelter for nearly a year before managing to escape during the Hungarian Revolution in 1957. After immigrating to the United States, Dr. Bodai received his B.A and M.S. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his M.D. degree from the University of California, Davis in 1977, where he currently serves as Clinical Professor of Surgery. Dr. Bodai later served as Chief of Surgery at Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento for 15 years and today directs the Breast Health Center at the Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento, which has been recognized nationally as a “Center of Excellence.” He has authored over 250 medical articles and has published five books, four of which focus on cancer. He holds a number of medical device patents, is a member of numerous prestigious surgical societies and is the recipient of many national awards.
Dr. Bodai is best known for creating the Breast Cancer Research Stamp. After treating thousands of patients with breast cancer, he became frustrated at the pace of funding for research. In a remarkable one-man lobbying effort that spanned two years of travel between Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, he was able to convince Congress and the U.S. Postal Service to issue the Breast Cancer Research Stamp – the first stamp in U.S. history to sell above face value with the surplus amount donated directly to breast cancer research. Over 950 million stamps have been sold since it was issued in 1998, raising over $81 million for crucial research.
Funding raised by the Stamp has led to multiple advances in breast cancer treatment, such as 3D breast imaging for improved early detection and nanotechnology (miniaturization), which now allows for the delivery of targeted therapies specifically at the cancer cells, eliminating many of the major side effects of past chemotherapy treatments, including loss of hair, infections, fatigue and even death.
The Stamp served as the inspiration for the Cure Series and its outline is featured on the labels of all the wines.
We’re honored to work with Dr. Bodai on such a wonderful project and are excited to launch the Cure Series and Club for the Cure this winter. Proceeds from all Cure Series wines will be donated to Cure Breast Cancer, Inc.