Upstage Lung Cancer

Using performing arts to raise awareness and funding for lung cancer research

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.

Here are 10 reasons we are 10 years stronger today.

1. In 2011, a 53,000-patient study demonstrated a 20% decrease in lung cancer deaths through CT screening. Low dose CT scans are now available for screening individuals who are at high risk for developing lung cancer. Screening helps find lung cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. Unfortunately, less than 5% of people who qualify are getting these life-saving screening tests. We are dedicated to helping more people get these important scans.

2. More new treatments for lung cancer have been approved by the FDA in the past 3 years than in the last 3 decades combined!

3. By identifying tumor mutations, drugs have been developed to directly target those mutations in advanced lung cancer. As of now, doctors have identified more than 10 such “driver” mutations that are approved for treatment or are being tested in clinical trials, EGFR, ALK. ROS1, BRAF v600e (approved) HER2, RET, MET (being tested and promising), KRAS, HER3, and others. The list is growing. Lung cancer treatment is leading the field of precision medicine.

4. When a targeted therapy is no longer effective, patients now have access to first-, second- and third-generation drugs. Doctors now have more “tools in their toolbox” to treat patients.

5. New treatment options are emerging even for rare “driver” mutations.

6. Immunotherapy, a type of treatment that activates a patient’s own immune system to fight their lung cancer, is now an available treatment option for advanced-stage NSCLC patients.

7. Notably, doctors now combine immunotherapy with traditional treatment options, such as chemotherapy, to bring even more potentially effective treatment options to patients.

8. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most prevalent (80-85%). We have made considerable advances in understanding hard-to-treat subtypes of lung cancers, (i.e., KRAS gene.) Now, we know that KRAS-positive has specific subtypes that may require individualized treatments.

9. Small cell lung cancer (10-15% occurrence) progresses quickly. The standard of care for the past three decades has been chemotherapy. Doctors are now testing both targeted therapies and immunotherapies to treat SCLC in clinical trials.

10. Last but not least, there are now “liquid biopsies.” Using a blood sample instead of lung tissue, monitoring circulating tumor DNA can complement or even replace traditional biopsies in monitoring patients. This method is less invasive, less time consuming, and less expensive than traditional biopsies.

So many advances give us reason for hope, yet lung cancer remains the #1 cancer killer. Thank you for joining our efforts to make a difference.

Contact us at ; 617.835.9722

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.

PRESS RELEASE: I Got Rhythm: In Love with Gershwin and Cole Porter

Dynamic evening of live music raises funds supporting lung cancer research

WATERTOWN and BOSTON, MA Issued February 5, 2018… Upstage Lung Cancer (ULC), in its fifth year partnering with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, presents I Got Rhythm: In Love with Gershwin and Cole Porter, on Thursday, April 5, 7:30 pm at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown.  All concert proceeds will benefit the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute’s (ALCMI) Genomics of Young Lung Cancer study and research for improved early detection of lung cancer.

International jazz and cabaret recording artists The Follen Angels take center stage for a spectacular evening of entertainment in I Got Rhythm, featuring the beloved songs by two of the 20 th century’s most treasured composers – George Gershwin and Cole Porter.   Hosted by WBZ’s celebrity radio personality Jordan Rich, this inspirational night of live music strikes a chord to raise awareness of the changing face of lung cancer. The evening features special guest ensemble The Unisons, an all-male contemporary a cappella group from Northeastern University, known for performing up-tempo contemporary tunes in venues on campus all the way to Boston’s Symphony Hall.  Guest speakers include Dr. Jacob Sands, a leading lung cancer clinician and researcher at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Steven Young, President and Chief Operating Office of ALCMI, who will share the stories of lung cancer in younger people and the research on the quest for a cure.

Founded in Boston in 2008, ULC is the only cancer advocate organization to exclusively utilize music and the performing arts to increase awareness, de-stigmatize the lung cancer disease, and raise funds for cutting-edge early detection research. ULC’s founder, lung cancer survivor, and jazz recording artist Hildy Grossman (lead singer, The Follen Angels) has combined her passion for music with her desire to foster knowledge about lung cancer in the hopes to spotlight new directions in research and early detection of lung cancer.

Since its inception, Upstage Lung Cancer has funded over $2 million in early detection research grants. This year grants were awarded to leading doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Koch Institute at MIT. The non-profit maintains ongoing partnerships with LUNGevity Foundation, Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Koch Institute at MIT to ensure investments in the finest research opportunities possible.

Tickets to I Got Rhythm are $25 general admission, $45 reserved seating, and VIP tickets are available at $100 and $250.  Upstage Lung Cancer is proud to offer complimentary tickets to lung cancer survivors.  For tickets, and more information about the Mosesian Center for the Arts, visit, call 617-923-8487, or stop by the box office, free parking is available on site.  For more information about Upstage Lung Cancer, visit .  To learn more about the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer study, visit

FOR GOOD Sale Proceeds to be Donated to ULC

For Good songs from WickedCandy O’Terry and Sheree Dunwell, are donating the proceeds from the sale of their song FOR GOOD, which they performed at our From Bench to Broadway concert on December 7.

The cost per download is $2.99 and any and all proceeds through January 24 will be gifted to ULC.

Purchase at cdbaby and enjoy the beautiful voices of these two talented women while you help ULC fund lung cancer research.

Hildy Grossman Featured In “Boston Women in Media and Entertainment”

President and Found of Upstage Lung Cancer, Hildy Grossman, sits down for a one-on-one interview with Amanda Carr of BWME’s Entertainment Corner. See the full interview below.

Entertainer’s Corner


Optical Imaging for Early Lung Cancer Diagnosis

This is our 7 th year partnering with LUNGevity Foundation to support innovative early
detection of lung cancer research. We are announcing our joint effort to continue support for
the second year of research by Dr. Lida Hariri at Massachusetts General Hospital. The first
year of her ground-breaking efforts to use Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), an emerging
technology for performing high-resolution cross-sectional imaging, to guide biopsies has shown
great promise. This methodology will facilitate reliable assessment of lung cancer. During the
second year of this project, she will initiate in vivo studies.

Our music at MIT’s Cancer Research Center

ULC 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.

Sensational 60’s Fourth Annual Sing Out!

Coming up on April 27th, 2017 Upstage Lung Cancer will host our 4th annual Sing Out benefit concert. Please check out our PRESS RELEASE and get your TICKETS today!

We are on the radio!

Check out this PSA about our October performance, “Ella: Celebrating the 1st Lady of Song!” A special thanks to Jordan Rich of Chart Productions and to WBZ Radio!”

LungCAN Feature

We are honored to have been featured on the LungCAN website this month. Please read below to learn more abPhoto2out Upstage Lung Cancer and our upcoming show inspired by Ella Fitzgerald.

“It’s a well-known fact that most performers do not like to be upstaged.  So nearly a decade ago, after a lung cancer diagnosis had threatened to upstage Hildy Grossman, the Boston psychologist—who also happens to be an accomplished jazz singer—decided to turn the tables on the deadly disease. The result was Upstage Lung Cancer, a nonprofit organization that uses music and musical theater to fight lung cancer. Grossman founded the organization in 2008.”

Read more…

Announcing 2016 Fan Award Recipient

Chris Draft with his wife
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 year, we are privileged to announce that the 2016 recipient of the Upstage Lung Cancer “Fan Award” is: Chris Draft, of Team 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. “We want people to see that anybody can get lung cancer.” Draft shares Upstage Lung Cancer’s views that we must find a way to identify lung cancer earlier. “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 ULC’s 2016 Fan Award as we strive to build the same awareness community using the performing arts.

Concert Spotlights Young Faces of Lung Cancer


Emily, Sandy, and Corey have much in common. They are vibrant, athletic, well-educated women. They also share something else in common; they were diagnosed with advanced lung cancer when they were in their twenties. These young people and many more are part of a population of adolescents and young adults all never-smokers, diagnosed with a disease that is traditionally associated with people much older. They are the changing face of lung cancer, which takes more lives annually worldwide than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined.

“The reality is that anyone can get lung cancer. It is an equal opportunity disease that doesn’t discriminate based on age, ethnicity, socio-economic level, or lifestyle,” says Hildy Grossman, a lung cancer survivor who founded Upstage Lung Cancer (ULC) in 2008. The Brookline nonprofit uses the performing arts to increase awareness, destigmatize the disease, and raise funds for cutting-edge early detection research. Three thousand miles away in San Francisco, survivor Bonnie J. Addario works to achieve the same end through the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) founded in 2006 and Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) established two years later.


Upstage Lung Cancer Partners with LUNGevity Foundation

Upstage Lung Cancer Partners with LUNGevity Foundation on Early Detection Research Award

Washington, D.C. (February 22, 2016) — 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. (more…)

After a great year, High Hopes for 2016!

Since 2011, we have raised over $1.8 million for lung cancer research. We thank our major partner, LUNGevity Foundation, for such successful collaboration and look forward to working together in the coming year.

Our Fall Cabaret, HIGH HOPES: Celebrating Sinatra’s Centennial was a sensational evening. Our sold-out November production is now on YouTube. In case you missed it—Check it out!

We were honored to present this year’s Fan Award to Francine Jacobson, MD, MPH, Brigham &amp Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, for her work on early detection of lung cancer and women’s health. Congratulations!

Our next SING OUT! is the third, in partnership with Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. In 2016, we expand to include our new partner, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


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N E Patriots Charitable Foundation Donates

26 New Englanders honored at Gillette Stadium at the 2014 Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards

June 2014 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.

Hildy Grossman receives NEPartriots Award

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. (more…)