The Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF), the research and education arm of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), announced the establishment of The Mollenkopf Breast Reconstruction Assistance Fund to provide financial assistance to women seeking non-insurance reimbursable aesthetic surgery to complete their post-breast cancer reconstructions. Steve Mollenkopf and Susan Mollenkopf, (breast cancer survivor and patient of ASAPS member, Scott Barttelbort, MD), donated $200,000 to create the fund.

Inspired by her own battle with cancer, Susan Mollenkopf recognized the impact of reconstructive surgery following treatment. “The importance of returning to normalcy, of feeling whole again, is critical to the recovery process. Breast cancer challenges each of us in so many ways. We have decided to try and ease the financial challenges some of these patients face. We would like each patient to have the opportunity to be ‘back to me’ when their journey is completed” she explains, which is her motivation for establishing this arm of ASERF.  The Fund is open to board-certified plastic surgeons who are members of ASAPS and patients in the greater San Diego County area. Grants of up to $5,000 per patient will be made on behalf of patients.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, which heightens the role of this Fund in the community. We are humbled by the donation and believe it will ease patients’ road to recovery,” noted Dr. Barttelbort, who facilitated the establishment of the Fund.

While the fund is currently limited to San Diego County, donors from other regions are welcome to contribute so that patients in their respective areas can receive similar assistance. “The hope is that the Fund will expand nationwide. The national Breast Cancer Community has made great strides over the past few decades, but ultimately, for the patient, it is an individual battle they fight with their team of family, friends, doctors and nurses. The patient strives to be cured and fully restored and they have a new ally on their team with the Mollenkopfs,” noted Dr. Barttelbort.

The Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF) is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit foundation whose mission is to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of cosmetic plastic surgical procedures, devices and techniques through directed research, and physician-initiated research.  ASERF is supported exclusively by private donations and research revenues.