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Brown’s Tire only West Virginia shop to support Brakes for Breasts

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Sep 25, 2020

Brown's Tire, Towing & Auto Care Center in Shepherdstown is the only West Virginia shop participating in the national Brakes for Breasts fundraising campaign. Shown from left are Maria Brown, Jason Taylor, Ronnie Brown and Scott Monroe. Toni Milbourne

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Brown’s Tire, Towing & Auto Care Center will be participating in the national Brakes for Breasts campaign — the only repair shop in the Mountain State to do so.

The locally owned-and-operated shop in Shepherdstown has been a supporter of the campaign for several years, and will continue working toward helping develop a breast cancer vaccine this October.

Brakes for Breasts is hosted each October by several independent repair facilities across the country. The fundraiser supports cancer research directly, by supporting vaccine research.

Developed by Leigh Anne Best and Laura Frank, Brakes for Breasts initially raised about $10,000 from a handful of automotive maintenance shops in the Cleveland, Ohio area. The numbers have increased every year, and shops participating in the campaign can now be found in 34 states.

With the fundraiser, facilities such as Brown’s Tire provide their customers with free brake pads; the customer then pays for the labor and any other parts that may be needed to install them. The shops then donate 10 percent of the total repair proceeds to the Breast Cancer Vaccine Fund.

“I could not believe we were the only shop in West Virginia,” said Maria Brown, who owns the shop with her husband, Ronald.

“I don’t think there is anyone that hasn’t been touched in some way by this cancer,” Maria continued, mentioning that she has personally lost people who were dear to her to it.

The American Red Cross estimated in 2019 there would be over 271,000 people diagnosed that year with breast cancer, culminating in more than 42,000 deaths. While breast cancer treatment has continued to improve over the past few decades, it has yet to reach the fundraiser’s goal, of preventing the illness before it happens.

Dr. Vincent Tuohy, Chair in Innovative Breast Cancer Research at Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded funding in 2017 to launch a clinical trial to begin testing a breast cancer vaccine. After much work, the first Phase I trial was slated to begin in mid-2020, focusing exclusively on women who have recently recovered from treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, the most lethal form of the disease. If this phase indicates the vaccine has an acceptable safety profile, it will be followed by a second Phase I trial.

Once Tuohy and his team have determined the vaccine is safe in humans, they can begin to vaccinate cancer-free women in efforts to eliminate the threat of breast cancer all together.

In choosing to be a part of the fundraising efforts for this vaccine trial, the team at Brown’s Tire, Towing & Auto Care Center are living out part of their mission statement, “to provide a positive, Christian, family atmosphere and encourage the achievement of individual growth, team/shop goals and ultimately return the investment in our community that has between invested in this establishment, by our community.”

Those who wish to give to the Brakes for Breasts cause are encouraged to schedule their brake work at Brown’s during the month of October. Located at 7735 Martinsburg Pike in Shepherdstown, the staff can be reached at 304-876-6835.