HCRI tissue bank coordinator Toni Mayberry honored with the American Cancer Society’s 2023 Inspiration Award

Author: Brett Beasley

Toni Page-Mayberry, Tissue Bank Coordinator at Harper Cancer Research Institute
Toni Page-Mayberry, Tissue Bank Coordinator at Harper Cancer Research Institute (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has selected Toni Mayberry as the recipient of its annual Inspiration Award. The award was announced at the ACS’s local Coaches vs. Cancer Night of the Stars event hosted by this year by the University of Notre Dame’s head men’s basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry.

Mayberry serves as the tissue bank coordinator for the University of Notre Dame's Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI), where she works with oncology teams to identify samples to add to the Institute's tissue bank.

Through her work gaining informed consent from patients and coordinating the efforts of four separate institutional review boards, the HCRI has added over 3,000 new samples. These samples have helped the Institute's researchers deepen their understanding of cancer’s causes and possible treatments.

Mayberry's motivation to fight cancer comes, in part, from her own experiences. A breast cancer survivor, Mayberry lost her mother and her husband, Jay, to cancer. She was also deeply affected by the loss of her niece at just 17 months old to renal blastoma.

"Toni's experiences have given her the strength to live out her personal mantra 'get mad, fight back' against cancer," said M. Sharon Stack, the Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Director of the HCRI and the Kleiderer-Pezold Professor of Biochemistry.

"Faced with a potential life-threatening diagnosis, many patients find it empowering to participate in research that can benefit others in the future, and Toni helps give them that opportunity," Stack added. "Her dedication has resulted in the availability of a unique resource for our community: the opportunity for our local cancer patients to participate in biomedical research by tissue donation."

In addition to her formal role at HCRI, Mayberry volunteers as the first point of contact to meet with newly diagnosed cancer patients to help them process their diagnosis and understand new and unfamiliar information from clinicians.

Stack said, "We are grateful to ACS for recognizing Toni’s kindness, compassion, and sensitivity that, combined with her courage, spirit, and resolve, make her a dedicated cancer warrior."

Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Over the past 25 years, the University of Notre Dame’s Men's Basketball program has raised more than $4.5 million through the collaboration.

Learn more about Toni Mayberry's inspiring journey in this Notre Dame Story.


Brett Beasley / Writer and Editorial Program Manager

Notre Dame Research / University of Notre Dame

bbeasle1@nd.edu / +1 574-631-8183

research.nd.edu / @UNDResearch

About the Harper Cancer Research Institute

Investigators in the Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) are dedicated to conducting innovative and integrative research that confronts the complex challenges of cancer. Our programmatic structure fosters multidisciplinary cancer research by promoting interactions among research groups with distinct expertise and by training early career scientists to work across scientific fields. Clinical partnerships provide key translational insight and strengthen the mission of discovery.

About Notre Dame Research

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see research.nd.edu or @UNDResearch.

Originally published by Brett Beasley at research.nd.edu on August 08, 2023.