What’s New at ULC
We Mourn the Loss of Linnea Olson
Upstage Lung Cancer expresses deep sadness in the loss of Linnea Olson. She was always supportive of our mission, attended our concerts and participated in our Podcasts and Fireside Chat.
Linnea was extraordinary in so many ways. When she was diagnosed with lung cancer, she was given only a short time to live. At her death, she “outlived lung cancer” by sixteen years. She spent those years living life to the fullest. I remember her only a few years ago when she was on a dating site and I ran into her with her handsome date at a scientific meeting. She was so bright and humorous. Her blog, “Life and Breath: Outliving lung cancer” was a journal of one woman living every day with lung cancer—ordinary challenges and big ones.
She was a force, that’s for sure. She was an avid patient advocate and was on Advisory Boards as well as serving as a peer reviewer for the Department of Defense. She was an advisor to pharma and Biotech on best practices for clinical trials. She was so thoughtful talking about the costs and benefits of clinical trials, from a personal perspective on our Backstage @ Upstage podcast. She participated in more than five clinical trials. This was a woman who loved live and was the true representative of a survivor.
She will remain in the hearts and memories of the entire lung cancer community. It was an honor and a pleasure to know her.
A Community Leader
In honor of November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, GO2 Foundation For Lung Cancer interviewed our Founder, Hildy Grossman. Take a look at Hildy’s fascinating story entitled, “One Woman’s Voice Makes a Difference.”
Message to our Lung Cancer Community
We’re thinking of you at this difficult time
In the past weeks, we have witnessed the continued racism and inequities in this country. The injustice surrounding the senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other murders of innocent Black lives angers many of us. Unfortunately, we know this is nothing new, and we are ready to listen, to learn, and to amplify Black voices that have been silenced by over 400 years of systemic racism in all it’s forms. We must stop institutional racism, in any of its forms, from continuing to needlessly take Black lives.
Upstage Lung Cancer is a non-profit organization that uniquely uses music and performing arts to raise awareness of lung cancer, the number one cancer killer. Upstage Lung Cancer is indebted to the central role Black musicians, composers, lyricists and performers have played and continue to play in the American musical landscape and its development. Sadly, a number of these Black musicians, such as Nat King Cole, Donna Summer, Edward Kennedy (Duke) Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and John Pyrne, lost their lives to lung cancer. African-Americans are disproportionately affected by lung cancer. The percentage of African-American men diagnosed with lung cancer each year is at least 30% higher than among White men, even though they have similar rates of smoking as White men. In fact, African-American men tend to smoke fewer cigarettes per day than White male smokers. (see Lung Cancer and African Americans)
We’re 10 Years Stronger!
On our 10th Anniversary of Upstage Lung Cancer, many advances have occurred. Looking forward, there are good reasons for hope. Over the past 10 years, ULC has invested $2 million in early detection research with our partners.
This year marks our 10th Anniversary of Upstage Lung Cancer. Many advances have occurred in lung cancer research. We are proud to have focused our attention on early detection. When we can easily detect lung cancer at its earliest stages, before symptoms arise, we will be saving thousands of lives each year. Looking forward, there are good reasons for hope. Over the past 10 years, ULC has invested $2 million in early detection research with our partners. ULC uniquely uses music and the performing arts to create awareness, help reduce stigma and fund cutting-edge research. To date, we have held ten Fall concerts hosted by Emmy Award-winning A&E critic, Joyce Kulhawik and featuring some of the Boston area’s most renowned performers.
UPSTAGE at LungCAN Conference
Upstage Lung Cancer is one of fourteen lung cancer patient advocate organizations gathering together in the “Living room” at the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation in San Carlos California. Advocate organizations are located across the US from California to Maine.
The first day of the conference heard speakers Barbara Gitlitz, MD from Genentech, Mark Jacobstein, of Guardant Health, and David Marshak from Foundation Medicine. The talks and discussion that followed emphasized that genomic testing for all lung cancer patients should be the standard of care. Tumor testing and liquid biopsies (blood tests of circulating tumors and DNA) can reveal over 300 mutations. The benefit of this testing is in directing targeted therapies and enhancing potential efficacy of immunotherapy (drugs that boost one’s own immune system to treat the cancer.
In addition, clinical trials were discussed as important options for treatment in advanced cancers as well as for some earlier, lower stages.
For Good Sale Proceeds Donated to ULC
Candy O’Terry and Sheree Dunwell, donated the proceeds from the sale of their song For Good, which they performed at our From Bench to Broadway concert on December 7, 2017.
The cost per download was $2.99 and any and all proceeds through January 24 was gifted to Upstage Lung Cancer.
Our Music at MIT’s Cancer Research Center
Upstage Lung Cancer is proud to partner with MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research to invest in their innovative Frontier Research Program. The goal is to support laboratory research in order to create a new, reliable, non-invasive method of early detection and diagnosis of lung cancer. Upstage Lung Cancer and The Koch Institute are deeply committed to supporting boldly conceived, groundbreaking, and highly collaborative research that all too often does not qualify for funding from traditional government sources.
Upstage Lung Cancer Partners with LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity Foundation is pleased to announce that Upstage Lung Cancer is collaborating with LUNGevity in support of an early detection translational lung cancer research project. The grant was awarded to Northwestern University researchers Vadim Backman, PhD, and Ankit Bharat, MBBS. The goal of the research is to develop a new, noninvasive method for detecting lung cancer at its earliest and most treatable.
The study will investigate the use of advanced technology, Partial Wave Spectroscopy, to determine how cells taken from the cheeks of Stage I lung cancer patients reflect early changes in respiratory tract cells that indicate the presence of lung cancer.
“From our first collaboration in 2011 on a project to identify tumor genomic changes in lung cancer to this year’s project, LUNGevity and Upstage Lung Cancer have worked together on projects that demonstrate the greatest potential for extending and improving the lives of those affected by lung cancer,” said Andrea Ferris, President and Chairman of LUNGevity. “Lung cancer poses such a complex challenge, and only by collaborating will we be able to achieve maximum impact.”
Donate with confidence. GuideStar USA, Inc. is a nonprofit information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies. Their objective is to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better investments, and encourages charitable giving. GuideStar’s gold star rating was granted to Upstage Lung Cancer for providing the highest level of disclosure about mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, governance, and so much more. GuideStar remains neutral while collecting, organizing, and presenting the information a donor needs to make the best decisions possible.
N E Patriots Charitable Foundation Donates
26 New Englanders honored at Gillette Stadium at the 2014 Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards
The Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards place a spotlight on those who give their time to help others and exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism. Annually, the Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation host the awards program as part of the ongoing Celebrate Volunteerism initiative in honor of Myra Kraft’s example of being a lifelong volunteer.
On June 9, twenty-six volunteers were recognized for their contributions at a luncheon and awards ceremony at Gillette Stadium. Each Community MVP received grants for their respective nonprofit organizations. Fifteen New England based organizations were presented with $5,000 grants in honor of their volunteers’ work. Ten others received grants of $10,000 and one grand prize winner was presented $25,000.
“Every year, we ask New England nonprofit organizations to nominate one volunteer who they consider their MVPs,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “This year, we received a record number of nominations from over 400 nonprofits. Their stories are heartwarming and inspirational and narrowing the field to 26 winners gets more difficult every year. As a lifelong volunteer herself, this was always Myra’s favorite event. I am so glad that her legacy continues to live through the great work of all the Myra Kraft Community MVPs.”