Annual Fan Award
Each year, Upstage Lung Cancer has bestowed our “Fan Award” on an individual or organization whose efforts have shown exceptional leadership in the area of lung cancer. It could be for the courage to speak out and raise awareness, for advocacy, or for conducting research leading to new methods of early detection and identification of lung cancer.
This was our 15th year to present our elegant etched glass Fan Award in homage to the elaborate fans that graced the stages of grand music hall productions, like the Ziegfeld Follies. Below are our distinguished recipients.
2023 Recipient: Lecia Sequist, MD, MPH
Lecia V. Sequist, MD, MPH is originally from Michigan. She attended Cornell University and Harvard Medical School, and then settled in Boston. She completed her clinical training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital. During her training she also earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. She joined the faculty at the MGH Cancer Center in 2005 and is currently the Landry Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the Program Director for Cancer Early Detection and Diagnostics at MGH and the leader of the Cancer Risk, Prevention and Early Detection Program at the joint Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. She sits on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Lung Cancer, the Thoracic Malignancy Steering Committee for the NCI, and the Scientific Board of Directors for LUNGevity Foundation. Dr. Sequist’s research focuses novel technologies and approaches to cancer screening and early detection. She is also passionate about mentoring. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her husband, two sons and two dogs, read and paint.
2022 Recipient: Bill Shields
New England Emmy Award-winning journalist, Bill Shields, retired after more than four decades at Boston CBS affiliate, WBZ-TV. According to station president and general manager, Mark Lund, Bill is not only an outstanding journalist with sources like no other, but also, he is a one-of-a-kind human being. He’s celebrated for always telling stories with compassion and understanding. He’s covered stories from hurricanes to the Covid-19 pandemic, yet perhaps no story more poignant than his own lung cancer journey. Bill received our Fan Award for using his celebrity to speak out about lung cancer. As a remarkable storyteller, Bill has shared his experience of being diagnosed with small cell lung cancer at an advanced stage, ten years ago. Remarkably, he was back at work in the field, covering the news two months later. He remained cancer free until late 2021 when he was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, again at an advanced stage. After vigorous treatment, he is now cancer free and considers himself the luckiest guy in the world. He is a treasure and inspiration to all. Attitude and joie de vivre matters!
2021 Recipient: Tyler Jacks, PhD
Professor Tyler Jacks continues to enjoy a distinguished career in cancer research for over 19 years. Dr. Jacks is the Founding Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology, Co-director of the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology, and President of Break Through Cancer.
The Jacks lab focuses much of their efforts on finding ways to detect lung cancer earlier, using mouse models of human cancer to understand the interactions between the immune system and cancer. Upstage Lung Cancer has supported several ground breaking projects, and most recently, a project using lung organoids. Organoids are miniaturized, lab-grown lungs that can be used to better understand lung cancer in its nascent stages, and identify biomarkers to aid in early detection. Organoids provide a unique opportunity to observe lung tumors in real time as they develop, a task that is nearly impossible using actual patient tumors. Dr. Jacks and members of his lab continue to focus on finding new and accessible tools to diagnose lung cancer at the earliest stage.
2020 Recipient: Linnea Olson
Linnea Olson is a mother, friend, artist, activist who has been surviving advanced stage lung cancer for more than fifteen years. She has served as a peer reviewer for the Department of Defense, on the Patient Advisory Council for LUNGevity, as well as four years as a member of Patient and Family Advisory Councils for the MGH Cancer Center. Her blog, life and breath: outliving lung cancer, has been going strong for eleven years. When she is not making art (or new friends), Linnea advises both Pharma and Biotech companies per best practices regarding clinical trials. She also sits on the board of the Israel Cancer Research Fund and is a frequent presenter for Harvard Medical School’s Executive Education Program. Currently she is enrolled in her fifth first in human clinical trial, which she (cheekily) refers to as field work. She is an inspiration to the entire lung cancer community.
2019 Recipient: Andrea Borondy Kitts
Andrea Borondy Kitts is a retired engineering executive with 32 years of experience in Aerospace. She lost her husband to lung cancer in April 2013 and is now a lung cancer and patient advocate and consultant. She works part time as a patient outreach and research specialist at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in the lung cancer screening program where she assists with research and helps provide a patient perspective to the program. Andrea is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR), a member of the American College of Radiology Patient and Family Centered Care Commission, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention & Control Network’s secondary prevention subcommittee focused on lung screening, the National Lung Cancer Round Table, the American Association of Medical Colleges Telehealth Advisory Committee and the NAM Action Collaborative on Clinician Well Being and Resilience. She is the COO of Prosumer Health, a start-up company that is developing a smartphone accessible, AI-driven, evidenced-based health maintenance and improvement platform for consumers. She volunteers for the American Lung Association and is a technical community member of the Hartford Healthcare IRB. Andrea has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UVM, a MS in Management from MIT and a Master’s in Public Health degree from the University of Connecticut.
2018 Recipient: Bonnie J. Addario
Bonnie J. Addario has been an activist, advocate, educator and change agent empowering patients and giving them a strong voice in the fight against lung cancer since receiving a stage 3B diagnosis more than a decade ago.
Although thrust into a role that she had never envisioned for herself, she embraced it and now considers it to be her second career and a personal calling. Recognizing the critical need for education, empowerment, advocacy and research to help patients and families, especially those without resources and support, Bonnie and her family founded the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) in 2006, and then went on to found the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) with her husband, Tony Addario, in 2008.
Bonnie’s business acumen and skills honed in her first career as President of Olympian Oil Company and Commercial Fueling Network (CFN), as Past President of the CA Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) and as a community activist serving on diverse boards have all contributed to her work at ALCF in developing business strategies and being the Foundation’s patient voice at national/international conferences, on panels and boards, and to industry leaders, clinicians and policy makers.
2017 Recipient: Diane Legg
LUNGSTRONG founder Diane Legg has lived with lung cancer for more than 13 years—8 more years than 85 percent of people struck by the often-stigmatized disease. She has used that time to raise three sons along with her husband David and to become a tireless fundraiser and advocate for leading-edge lung cancer research. As co-director of the New England chapter of the Lung Cancer Alliance, from 2006 – 2012, she launched “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer,” the largest international awareness event for the disease. In 2011, Diane founded LUNGSTRONG, a non-profit designed to provide unrestricted funding to lung cancer researchers, allowing them the freedom to think “out of the box” in pursuit of potentially transformative treatments. To date, LUNGSTRONG has raised over $2.8 million to support research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and at the Mass General Cancer Center.
Diane lives in Amesbury, MA, with her husband, David, and her 3 sons, Dean, Cole, and Will. Since her diagnosis she has run 4 half marathons and ridden in 6 Pan Mass Challenges, not allowing lung cancer to define who she is or what she can do. Through her work, Diane hopes to help de-stigmatize lung cancer and to generate the much needed funding for lung cancer research with hopes of finding a cure.
2016 Recipient: Chris Draft
On November 27, 2011, former 12-year veteran NFL star Chris Draft married the love of his life, professional dancer Keasha Rutledge, in an intimate and beautiful wedding ceremony surrounded by loved ones. In fact, Team Draft was launched on Chris and Keasha’s wedding day. Exactly one month later, on December 27, at age 38, she died. Chris sat by her side as she took her last breaths. He was inspired and determined to create Team Draft with the goal to change the face of lung cancer. Draft shares Upstage Lung Cancer’s views that we must find a way to identify lung cancer earlier. “We want people to see that anybody can get lung cancer. My wife was this strong, healthy woman, who was all of a sudden short of breath. If she was diagnosed at Stage 3, instead of 4, it could have increased her chances of survival. We’re going to celebrate her life and the type of person she was, and we want others to grab hold of her spirit and make a difference. Keasha didn’t smoke, she was a dancer, she was fit, and she was healthy.” Chris Draft uses his accomplishments in the world of sports to build a community of awareness and advocacy for lung cancer. This is an inspiration to Upstage Lung Cancer, and we are honored to present him with our 2016 Fan Award.
2015 Recipient: Francine L. Jacobson, MD, MPH
Dr. Jacobson is an outspoken proponent for early detection of lung cancer. She is the Director of Lung Cancer Screening for Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Health Care. The Program is a Lung Cancer Alliance Center for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening. She is also an Assistant Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. Her interests in health promotion and screening date back to Medical School at the University of Miami where she pioneered a joint MD-MPH degree. Her radiology research interest in perception has led to an involvement in many studies of lung nodule detection and detection of lung parenchymal features from CT scan images. She served as the BWH Site Primary Investigator for the NATIONAL LUNG SCREENING TRIAL, and has authored and co-authored numerous abstracts, reviews, and peer-reviewed articles on lung cancer screening.
2014 Recipient: Jordan Rich
Mr. Rich received this year’s Fan Award for using his celebrity to speak out, raise awareness, and help educate the public about lung cancer. Mr. Rich is a 36-year Boston radio broadcast veteran. Since 1996, he has hosted a popular, all-night radio show on the CBS affiliate, WBZ AM 1030. His loyal audience spans 38 states and Canada. As an unwavering supporter of Upstage Lung Cancer’s efforts since we began, he has made public service radio announcements, invited us to appear on his show to talk about lung cancer, and also serves as emcee for our Spring event, “SING OUT! Youth Music Festival.” He ardently encourages listeners to attend lung cancer events and to get involved. Jordan personally knows the pressing need for lung cancer research, having lost Wendy, his wife of 31 years, to this deadly disease. Wendy’s courage in the face of many years of treatment has inspired Jordan to take action. We are grateful for Jordan’s advocacy efforts and we honor him for all of his hard work to fight lung cancer.
2013 Recipient: Vincent Miller, MD
Dr. Miller is a world leader in lung cancer research and treatment and clinical trial design and interpretation. As Chief Medical Officer for Foundation Medicine, Dr. Miller has dedication, passion and singular expertise in bringing molecular profiling to the everyday treatment of lung cancer patients. His work in clinical and translational research in lung cancer culminated in observations and collaborative efforts critical to identification of EGFR sensitizing and resistance mutations. Dr. Miller has authored and co-authored numerous abstracts, reviews, and peer-reviewed articles, which have appeared in such journals as Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Foundation Medicine is a vanguard molecular information company focused on fundamentally changing the way patients with cancer are treated. Their initial product, FoundationOne™, uses next generation sequencing to identify all classes of genomic alterations in hundreds of cancer-related genes. These genomic profile results enable the physician to match targeted therapies and clinical trials to each individual patient based on the most recent scientific and medical research. Foundation Medicine is leading the way towards personalized cancer diagnosis and treatment.
2012 Recipient: Yolonda Colson, MD, PhD
Dr. Colson is a dedicated cardiothoracic surgeon and is tireless in her efforts to save lives and empower women to fight lung cancer. She has received numerous awards and honors for her surgical research and innovations to treat lung cancer. She is named on two joint patents and has received more than 21 grants. Along with Dr. Francine Jacobson, she founded Women’s Lung Cancer Forum for lung cancer survivors, their friends, and relatives. The Forum’s focus is awareness, education, and empowerment.
2011 Recipient: Deborah Morosini, MD
Dr. Morosini is a passionate and dedicated patient advocate for lung cancer. Her younger sister, Dana Reeve (who was married to actor Christopher Reeve), was a healthy nonsmoker when she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Dana died 7 months after her diagnosis. Dr. Morosini turned her grief into determination to educate the general public and bring increased compassion and support to this neglected, underfunded, and lethal cancer, lung cancer. She decried blaming lung cancer patients for their disease. “I feel so moved to ask all of us to make a commitment to open our hearts to people suffering from this disease, to increasing the awareness, and to starting those conversations about that kind of judgment and false beliefs that all of us carry around with us,” she said.
2010 Recipient: Thomas J. Lynch, Jr., MD
Dr. Lynch is renowned for his innovative, humane, personalized, and passionate clinical practice and research in the area of lung cancer. Dr. Lynch’s vision is that, “Over the next 10 years, in terms of medical advances, is the application of real time medical genomics to the treatment and prevention of disease.” In his view of personal medicine, he emphasizes the connection and dialogue between doctor and patient and the resilience of those facing a life-threatening illness like lung cancer. This is a model for all current and future health care providers.
2009 Recipient: Jerry Remy
Jerry Remy helped destigmatize lung cancer by publicly declaring that he was being treated for lung cancer in 2008. He experienced a recurrence in February, 2013. In April, Remy stated: “If I can help anybody, that’s great… For those who have had relapses, now I have too, and hopefully we can get through it together.”