An Evening of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Posted:

At age 15, he developed an early-detection test for pancreatic cancer, even after a slew of rejections from potential mentors. Experimenting with a small amount of nitro glycerin, he inadvertently blew a 40-foot crater in his own backyard—and put his family on an FBI watch list. Amazing wunderkind Jack Andraka was the fascinating keynote speaker at An Evening of Hope, this year’s Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research fundraiser. Founder Maureen Shul told guests she discovered him on a broadcast of 60 Minutes and “stalked him” until he agreed to make an appearance in Denver.

Representatives of sponsor Aircraft Performance Group (APG) at the reception

Representatives of sponsor Aircraft Performance Group (APG) at the reception

On Saturday, June 18, more than 200 supporters gathered at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus for a casual reception and silent auction. Shul said the event was focused on pancreatic-cancer research, so what better place to be? Guests made their way to the auditorium, where energetic Gary Corbett served as event emcee and auctioneer for five big-ticket items up for bid. Shul told the crowd the event was designed to show the present state of pancreatic cancer, as well as the possibilities to be gained with more research. Also addressing the crowd: Colin Weekes, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medical oncology, as well as Richard Schulick, M.D., M.B.A., professor and chair of the department of surgery, both at CU-Anschutz. The evening ended with a booksigning for “Breakthrough,” authored by Andraka.

Gary Corbett (left), supported by event speakers, makes an appeal for individual donations at the live auction.

Gary Corbett (left), supported by event speakers, makes an appeal for individual donations at the live auction.

From an early age, Jack Andraka was enormously curious about everything to do with science. Before grade school, his parents, with backgrounds in medicine and engineering, taught him the rudiments of scientific methods. It was the death of a close family friend caused by pancreatic cancer that focused Andraka’s energy and brilliance in trying to find a way to detect the disease in its early stages. His test, developed at age 15, costs three cents and five minutes to run—400 times more effective than the previous detection method used by medical professionals. Among a slew of awards, Andraka was honored with the 2014 Jefferson Award, the nation’s most prestigious public-service recognition, and was First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal guest at the State of the Union Address. Andraka recently completed his first year at Stanford University under a grant from National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and conducts research on nanorobots and inkjet-printed biosensors for environmental contaminants and diseases.

Wings of Hope was founded in 2012 by Maureen Shul after losing her brother and mother to pancreatic cancer within months of each other. In 2013, the University of Colorado Cancer Center entered into a formal partnership with her foundation, with all efforts and proceeds going directly toward raising awareness and funding for the the pancreatic cancer research at Anschutz Medical Campus. Wings of Hope has raised approximately $400,000 since its creation. For more information, please visit: www.wingsofhopepcr.org.

CNI Spotlight on Hope Awards at Ritz-Carlton

Posted:

The Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI) this year combined its Hope Awards and Gala into one unique event held at the Denver Ritz-Carlton April 15th to honor surviving patients and dedicated advocates representing Denver’s neurological community. The luxury downtown hotel’s front entrance provided a red carpet experience with strobe lights from enthusiastic paparazzi photographers and loud cheers for guests and honorees entering the hotel’s main lobby.

More than 375 guests packed the hotel mezzanine to honor four special honorees affected by organic brain diseases requiring state-of-the-art surgical procedures, chemo therapies and other treatments.

Presenting Sponsor Radiology Imaging Associates made the annual signature event possible with support from Gold Sponsors— Swedish Medical Center, Bill & Leslie Volbracht, Dr. Richard and Mrs. Linda VG Kelley –and Silver Level Sponsors: Triple B, Craig Hospital, TEVA, Rick & Robin Fort, HealthONE and other individual and corporate supporters.

The annual fundraiser raises money to support patients, research, and education for CNI, a 501(c) (3) organization established to enhance the delivery of personalized, comprehensive, and state-of-the- art care through coordinated patient care, education, research, and outreach activities.

This year’s honored guests were:

Exemplary Neuro Patient: Rick Schwartz–afflicted with Parkinson’s–is a former FOX sportscaster who is active in the community through board leadership with Parkinson’s Disease of the Rockies, speaking engagements and the creation of the new statewide “Boxing for Parkinson’s” program.

Exemplary Neuro Patient & Caregiver (inpatient and outpatient): Mandy & Matt Banks were both impacted by brain health issues. At the age of 28 – 8 months pregnant with her first child– Mandy had a hemorrhagic stroke which nearly took her life. After nearly a year of rehab at CNI, Mandy is back at work and busy mothering her infant son. Mandy and Matt have raised more than $50,000 for the American Heart Association, and have been an inspiration to the Denver community.

“Anything Can Happen” Award for a child who has courageously faced a neurological condition: Charlotte Varney is a 9-year-old brain tumor survivor who has undergone numerous procedures and chemo regiments over the past four years to finally reach her current “cancer free” status.

Neuroscientist of the Year: Multiple Sclerosis clinician Allen Bowling, MD, PhD speaks internationally and gives generously of his time and resources to CNI and the National MS Society. He has published extensively in the area of complimentary and alternative medicine for MS patients.

Established in 1988, CNI offers access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art care, support services, clinical trials, outpatient neuro rehab and counseling. CNI is home to 70 physician and research associates who all work to advance clinical trials into new treatments for MS, Parkinson’s and other brain conditions.

Visit www.thecni.org, call 303-788-4010 or email info@thecni.org for additional information, to volunteer or make a donation.

 

 

CU School of Medicine's Bow Tie Ball honors Dr. Richard Krugman

Posted:

cropped bow tie

 

Dr. Richard Krugman served as the Dean of the University of Colorado School of Medicine for 25 years. In his honor on Saturday night, November 15, 2014, (what looked like) the entire medical community came out to celebrate the man, who leaves behind him an insurmountable legacy to the state’s medical community and the CU School of Medicine.

Event Chair Jamie Angelich, created the lovely tribute evening to celebrate and highlight the charming, gregarious, kind, intelligent and generous man. Krugman’s league of friends and colleagues readily took to the podium to remember the many years spent in his company.

Emcee Matt Iseman led the accolades throughout the evening. Iseman, a former practicing MD and CU School of Medicine alumnus, left his medical career and headed to Los Angeles years ago.  The former doctor is now an accomplished working actor, writer, Emmy Award winner and host of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior…talk about a career change. His Hollywood presence and familiarity to Denver, and the school, served to keep the ball rolling with humor and well deserved respect for Dr. Krugman throughout the night.

The evening honored the Dean by hosting a live auction, led by Iseman. Among the unique and beautiful items auctioned was a autographed painting of Peyton Manning by Malcolm Farley, bronze sculptures by Georgene McGonagle, an exquisite Lady Rolex diamond watch from Hyde Park, a dinner for ten at Elway’s Cherry Creek with Dean Krugman (Iseman added one more to the $1,000 dollar a pop dinner.) Eleven friends will sit down at Elway’s to enjoy a steak dinner. Last but not least, from Hollywood, tickets to the 2015 People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles at the NOKIA Theatre, January 7, 2015.

Sharing memories and respect for a long career were Darrell Kirch, MD, President and CEO, Association of American Medical Colleges. Lilly Marks, Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Colorado, Executive Vice Chancellor, Anschutz Medical Campus, and Donald M. Elliman, Chancellor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Dean Richard Krugman’s family honored their father and husband by unveiling a beautiful portrait by Benjamin McCready.

Dr. Richard Krugman is a man who did his job with quiet ease for 25 years. He will be greatly missed in the Dean’s office at CU Medical School. Dr. Krugman thanked his staff, the school and Jamie Angelich for the wonderful send-off by adding,  “I’m not retiring. I’m going to finish the work I started 25 years ago.” Krugman spent the better part of a medical career, before becoming Dean, on efforts to ending child abuse.

 

Hoops & Hoopla Scores for National Jewish Health

Posted:

Ah, springtime in the Rockies! Sun, flowers blooming, some snowflakes—and for sports fans, watching the NCAA basketball semifinals at National Jewish Health’s Hoops & Hoopla. For the past 11 years, the annual fundraiser has become a rite of spring in Denver for both b-ball fans and NJH supporters. It’s always a slam dunk to host a party surrounding the last four men’s college basketball teams as they battle it out for a spot in the national championship game. But NJH planners take it above and beyond with accompanying party details that are sumptuous and guest-friendly. Ultimately the true winners are always the event’s beneficiaries: students at the Morgridge Academy on the NJH campus.

On Saturday, April 5, almost 400 settled in at Sports Authority Field’s East Club Level to catch the hoops action on tons of TVs. The event began with a pre-game open bar and snacks, along with a busy silent auction. Guests also had the opportunity to test their athletic skills with a spectrum of sports games plus some just-for-fun gaming tables including poker and roulette. Epicurean Catering provided a hearty gourmet buffet as event-goers sat down to watch the end of the UConn-Florida game while indulging in tasty chow.

Honorees: Heart of a Champion award, Bill Gregor (left); and Rookie of the Year, Ryan Wilson

Honorees: Heart of a Champion award, Bill Gregor (left); and Rookie of the Year, Ryan Wilson

Between games, a short program included remarks by board chair Rich Schierburg, who talked about the mission to house, feed, educate and treat students with chronic illnesses at Morgridge Academy, and the goal to get them back to public schools—all provided at no cost. Three awards were presented to deserving honorees: Greiner Electric, whose employees raised $40,000 for the cause, accepted the MVP trophy; Bill Gregor was honored with the Heart of a Champion award; and Ryan Wilson was named Rookie of the Year. As the second game began, guests finalized auction bids and settled in for a nail-biter between Kentucky and Wisconsin. The last two teams standing at night’s end: 7 and 8 seeds, UConn and Kentucky.

The Morgridge Academy is a unique, day school program for approximately 90 students in grades K-8 who require medical assistance during the normal school day. The school, approved by the Colorado Department of Education, is dedicated to help children who have medical problems that have caused frequent absences from mainstream schools.

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 115 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, NJH today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. For a resource to stay informed about what is happening at the institution and to learn more about the conditions treated, please visit: NJHealth.org.

2nd Annual Save the Males

Posted:

Save The Males – an evening gala that seeks to raise awareness about prostate cancer – has grown tremendously in the last few years. The event – with it’s exclusively female attendees – tries to do what the men who are actually susceptible to this insidious disease can’t seem to – with great good humor and no shortage of cocktails, speak frankly and earnestly about a disease and propose concrete steps to help address it.

The 250-attendee event started with a silent auction, which featured dozens of handbags as the main offering – from slouchy to stylish, beaded to bejeweled, vintage to briefcase to evening-wear.

The evening’s main entertainment was Patsy Decline (aka Lannie Garrett), a seasoned veteran of the cabaret circuit, who had the audience in stitches with her bawdy re-imagining on country classics and event-apropos song titles (not a one of them reprintable here).

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, by a wide margin. Affecting mostly older men, and likely to be undetected for long periods of time, the stigma of discussing it and the bewildering range of treatment options are among the reasons it has proven so hard for medical experts to tackle.

Keynote speaker Doctor Tom Flaig was able to entertainingly highlight the rather anemic advocacy and awareness efforts of prostate cancer, especially when compared to breast cancer, with it’s very public color (pink), events (Walk for the Cure), and celebrity spokespeople. “Women have walks,” he noted, “Men have crawls.” Men – it was claimed over and over again – need the sisterhood’s help to get organized, raise awareness, and get over the embarrassment and doctor-aversion of men susceptible to prostate cancer.

Through the silent auction and entry fee, organizers hope to raise $150,000 for the University of Colorado’s Prostate Cancer Research Program. And they had a great time doing it.