On Friday, March 9th, The Woiner Foundation delivered 10 chemo care bags to be distributed to pancreatic cancer patients at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside.
The colorful neoprene bags included organic snacks, a Panera Bread gift card, organic skincare products donated by Badger Balm, a beautiful Sterling Silver “hope” bracelet or necklace and a hand-knitted purple hat donated to the foundation at last year’s 321 Ride fundraising event.
“Anyone who has sat with a person going through cancer treatment, or undergone treatment themselves, knows what a draining time that can be, ” said Woiner Foundation Executive Director Jessica Fera. “We hope the bags make the patients smile and add a little bright spot to an otherwise difficult day.”
As a result of a hugely successful 5th year of fundraising, in December 2017 The Woiner Foundation was able to award a total of $100,000 to directly support the fight against melanoma and pancreatic cancer. The foundation has awarded a total of $310,000 since it began its work in 2013.
The foundation awarded $50,000 to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer program, led since 1986 by Dr. John M. Kirkwood. The program has made significant advances in treatment of advanced melanoma, and operable high-risk melanoma over the past 5 years, accelerated by The Woiner Foundation’s growing support of new research. Where only 6 years ago there were no medical treatments that improved survival of inoperable advanced melanoma, we now have 10 and two more in the pipeline likely to reach FDA approval in the coming months. Combinations of new immunotherapy have improved survival rates, and the cure of operable disease. The consistent and growing Woiner Foundation support has allowed Dr. Kirkwood the opportunity to improve the cure of melanoma in all stages.
The foundation also awarded $50,000 to the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer to support the work of Dr. A. James Moser at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Moser and his Pancreatic Cancer Research Program team are bringing “precision medicine” into clinical reality using minimally-invasive technologies. The BIDMC team is now able to grow 3-D tumors (“organoids”) from pancreatic biopsies performed with a tiny needle during diagnostic procedures, including robotic surgical procedures for pancreatic cancer. This “organoid” approach is being used successfully to screen chemotherapy agents in the laboratory and to identify novel agents for pancreatic cancer, such as Palbociclib. These important developments will permit Dr. Moser’s team to launch an observational clinical trial of the organoid approach to cancer treatment in 2018 in parallel with a personalized fusion vaccine for pancreatic cancer.
The Woiner Foundation raised the money through its fifth annual 3-2-1 Ride event, which was attended by more than 550 area cyclists and volunteers on Oct. 1, 2017 on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, and its third annual Tim & Rita Woiner Memorial Golf Outing, held in June 2017 at Rolling Fields Golf Club in Murrysville.
The Woiner Foundation reached a milestone in its support of the fight against melanoma and pancreatic cancer thanks to a successful fourth year of fundraising efforts. In December 2016, the foundation awarded a total of $70,000 to two different groups to help fund important research and advance the level of patient care. The foundation has awarded a total of $210,000 since it began its work in 2013.
The foundation awarded $35,000 to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) Melanoma and Skin Cancer program, directed by Dr. John Kirkwood, to support his melanoma research initiatives. Under Dr. Kirkwood’s direction, more than 20 faculty researchers are focused on melanoma and leading multiple local, national and international studies that are advancing new therapies for the treatment of melanoma, a cancer that kills more than 7,000 people in the United States each year.
“The support from The Woiner Foundation allows us to bring forward new investigators who are the future of melanoma research, prevention, and treatment,” said Dr. Kirkwood. “Our trainees are now running melanoma programs from Minnesota and New Hampshire to Indiana, North Carolina, Florida and many other places in the U.S. as well as in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.”
Dr. Kirkwood has received international acclaim for his research and he leads a number of highly promising clinical trials with cancer vaccines, using biological response modifiers, naturally produced substances, to spur the body’s own immune system into recognizing and destroying melanoma.
The foundation also awarded $35,000 to the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer to support the work of Dr. A. James Moser at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
“Thanks to the tireless effort and generosity of The Woiner Foundation, our team is successfully harvesting and growing 3D cultures of pancreatic tumors (organoids) removed from patients undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Moser. “Organoids offer a rapid method for testing tumor responses to chemotherapy agents in the laboratory before patients are exposed to drugs which may be ineffective against their cancers. Organoid technology is bringing Precision Medicine into clinical practice by allowing researchers to find new treatments for pancreatic cancer that can be used to personalize treatment options for patients.”
The Woiner Foundation raised the money through its fourth annual 3-2-1 Ride event, which was attended by more than 550 area cyclists and volunteers on Oct. 16, 2016 on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, and its second annual Tim & Rita Woiner Memorial Golf Outing, held in June 2016 at Rolling Fields Golf Club in Murrysville.
The Woiner Foundation is proud to partner with AIM at Melanoma to bring a new fundraising event to Pittsburgh! Please read the important message below from Dr. John Kirkwood. We hope to see you on April 23rd.
Our 1st Annual – AIM for the CURE Melanoma Walk & Fun Run in Pittsburgh is scheduled on Saturday, April 23rd, supporting melanoma research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). We hope that you will join us and help us in our fight to eliminate melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer.
The urgency of melanoma research is supported by the following facts:
Your support will help advance innovative research, and new and more promising personalized treatment
approaches for the future.
UPCI is one of four leading melanoma research centers in the U.S. that have laid the groundwork for a tissue bank consortium, which will provide the most basic of tools – primary tissue to be used in research. The tissue bank will be a critical resource for melanoma researchers to advance innovative and novel new treatment options to reverse the progress of this cancer. 100% of the net proceeds from this event will support the UPCI melanoma
tissue bank – benefiting those impacted by melanoma locally, regionally and nationally.
AIM at Melanoma is the largest international melanoma foundation globally engaged and locally invested in advancing the battle against melanoma through innovative research, legislative reform, education, and patient and caregiver support. The Woiner Foundation is proud to partner with AIM at Melanoma in their common mission to promote awareness and to fund melanoma research.
We would appreciate your consideration of support and invite you to join us in our unwavering battle against
melanoma. TOGETHER, we will continue to make a difference in the lives of individuals suffering from this deadly cancer and their families!
John M. Kirkwood, MD
2016 AIM for the Cure Honorary Chair, Pittsburgh
On December 14, 2015 at the WPXI-TV Studios in Pittsburgh, Pa., The Woiner Foundation awarded a total of $60,000 to two different groups to support melanoma and pancreatic cancer research and patient care programs.
The foundation awarded $30,000 to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program. The award was accepted by Dr. John Kirkwood, the program’s director. The money will directly support the program’s melanoma research initiatives.
The foundation awarded $30,000 to the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer. The award was accepted by Marla Wagner, Board Secretary for the AFFPC. The money will be used to support Dr. A. James Moser’s pancreatic cancer research programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
The Woiner Foundation raised the money through its third annual 3-2-1 Ride event, which was attended by more than 550 area cyclists and volunteers on Oct. 11, 2015 on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, and its first annual Tim & Rita Woiner Memorial Golf Outing, held in May 2015 at Rolling Fields Golf Club in Murrysville. The 3-2-1 Ride event raised 28.5% more than last year, bringing the 3-year fundraising total to $130,500!
Since its founding in 2013, The Woiner Foundation has given $140,000 in grants to support the fight against melanoma and pancreatic cancer.
“In the past 5 years I have lost both of my parents to cancer, my mom to pancreatic cancer and my dad to melanoma, and at age 32, I have seen my husband battle stage one melanoma twice,” said Woiner Foundation Executive Director Jessica Fera. “This fight is personal to me, and I know it is for many of our event participants, too. Whether or not they have been personally touched by one of these diseases, it’s likely that someone they know or love has battled some type of cancer. We promise to make every dollar raised count.”
The Woiner Foundation is a Pittsburgh-based 501(c)(3), volunteer-run, non-profit organization founded in 2013. The organization’s mission is to fight melanoma and pancreatic cancer by increasing awareness, supporting patients, survivors and families and funding important research.
In 2016, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer increased slightly, moving from 7 to 8 percent. However, pancreatic cancer deaths will surpass those caused by breast cancer, moving the disease from the fourth to the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics 2016 report.
Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. and worldwide, and it’s the most common form of cancer for young adults aged 25-29. Every eight minutes someone in the U.S. will be diagnosed with melanoma but when caught early, it’s almost 100% curable.
The second annual World Pancreatic Cancer Day on Friday, November 13, will unite advocates around the globe in their mission to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer. An estimated 926 people globally are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every day. And, every day, an estimated 905 people globally will die from the disease.
Despite rising incidences, most people are unaware of pancreatic cancer’s deadly toll. A recent global survey found that 60% of people know “almost nothing” about the disease.
World Pancreatic Cancer Day’s goal is to bring much needed focus and attention to the disease, and especially the need for increased symptom awareness and greater investment into research. This worldwide initiative is being led by 56 patient advocacy organizations from around the world that are committed to tackling the fight against pancreatic cancer.
“Global awareness is the first step to action,” said Julie Fleshman, World Pancreatic Cancer Day Chair and CEO and President of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “The more people who know about pancreatic cancer, the greater our opportunity to demand more research and develop better resources for those facing the disease.”
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, with just 2-10% of those diagnosed surviving five years. The reason why we need better diagnosis methods and treatment options is evident:
• Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a five-year survival rate in the single digits.
• There is no early detection method. Nearly half (46%) of all Americans mistakenly believe there is a way to be screened for pancreatic cancer. In the United Kingdom, 71% of people cannot name a single symptom of pancreatic cancer.
• There are few effective treatment options.
• Pancreatic cancer affects men and women equally.
• Death rates for pancreatic cancer are increasing while the death rates for other cancers are declining.
But according to the organizations behind World Pancreatic Cancer Day, including The Woiner Foundation, it is within these dismal circumstances that hope shines brightest. The efforts on November 13 will not only raise awareness and facts about the disease, but also spread the word that with more research funding and more people taking action, the pancreatic cancer survival rate will improve, as has been the case for other cancers.
World Pancreatic Cancer Day encourages everyone “to see purple” on November 13 by wearing purple, lighting landmarks purple, using purple on social media channels, etc. In addition, supporters will:
• Tackle a series of social media challenges to help people understand the need to know about the disease
• Secure media attention around the globe
• Encourage people to connect with their local pancreatic cancer organization
World Pancreatic Cancer Day is powered by corporate sponsors Celgene, Baxalta, Lilly Oncology, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and NewLink Genetics Corporation. For more information about World Pancreatic Cancer Day, go to worldpancreaticcancerday.org.
About World Pancreatic Cancer Day
World Pancreatic Cancer Day is a day dedicated to raising global awareness of pancreatic cancer and takes place during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Driven by a committee of patient advocacy organizations from around the world, the day seeks to start an online conversation about the need for awareness to spur research and advocacy for pancreatic cancer.
The Woiner Foundation presented Family Hospice and Palliative Care in Mt. Lebanon with a gift of eight iPad minis and protective cases on Monday. The iPads were purchased thanks to the generosity of the John R. and Margaret S. McCartan Charitable Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, through its “Wish Book” program.
“The iPads will be used in our two inpatient centers, one in Lawrenceville and the other in Mt. Lebanon,” said Lynn Helbling Sirinek, Vice President of Philanthropy at Family Hospice. “This technology will enable family members who are unable to visit their loved one to communicate via Skype. We will be loading music and movies onto a couple of the iPads. These devices will also be utilized by family members as a diversion during what can be long and difficult days.”
The iPads were given in loving memory of Tim and Rita Woiner, who were both cared for by Family Hospice; Tim, in 2010 during his battle with melanoma, and Rita, in 2014 during her battle with pancreatic cancer.
“Family Hospice provided exceptional care and great comfort to my mom and dad, and to our entire family, during the most difficult times in our lives,” said Jessica Fera, Executive Director of The Woiner Foundation. “We’re thankful to be able to give back and to help other families, in my parents’ honor.”
The Wish Book Project is a unique opportunity to connect donors to the needs of community nonprofits. This year’s Wish Book featured 70 organizations, from all avenues of the nonprofit sector, with wish requests totaling $175,000. The Woiner Foundation partnered with Family Hospice to submit this grant request on its behalf.
View photos from the presentation: https://www.flickr.com/photos/woinerfoundation/albums/72157657336461556
About The Woiner Foundation
The Woiner Foundation is a Pittsburgh-based, volunteer-run nonprofit organization, whose mission is to fight melanoma and pancreatic cancer by increasing awareness, supporting patients, survivors and families and fundraising for research.
Founded in 2013 by Jessica and Ric Fera and Rita Woiner, the foundation has raised more than $80,000 through annual fundraising events, including a golf outing and its largest event, the 3-2-1 Ride, a family-friendly bike ride that takes place in October. More than 90% of the funds raised have been used to support cancer research, prevention and patient care initiatives through the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program, the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
About Family Hospice
Celebrating our 35th anniversary of service in 2015, Family Hospice and Palliative Care provides quality, compassionate care throughout Western Pennsylvania. Our expert staff serves nine counties in the region, helping patients with life-limiting illness make choices about their care, supporting family and friends who are grieving, and educating both professionals and the community about end-of-life issues.
Family Hospice is the largest independent, nonprofit, community-based hospice organization in the state and is accredited by The Joint Commission for meeting specific high-level performance standards. More than 3,600 patients annually receive care from Family Hospice in a variety of settings, including private homes, nursing facilities, hospitals and our two inpatient centers in Mt. Lebanon and Lawrenceville. For more information, visit FamilyHospicePA.org, Facebook.com/FamilyHospicePA and Twitter.com/FamilyHospice.
Thanks to their generosity, the foundation is receiving a check for $6,768.69!
Panera Bread is supporting the 3-2-1 Ride for the 2nd year as part of its Operation Dough-Nation® program. In 2013 alone, Covelli Enterprises donated over $19 million to local food banks, hunger relief agencies and other community organizations like ours.
Thank you Pittsburgh and thank you Panera Bread!
If you are a pancreatic cancer patient or family member/caregiver with a connection to the disease, please share your voice in the fight against pancreatic cancer by completing the following survey.
This survey will assist Dr. A. James Moser and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Pancreatic Cancer Center to identify quality metrics in pancreatic surgery specifically from a patient’s perspective. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a significant contribution to the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer.
We thank you in advance for you participation.
Download the survey: Pancreatic Surgery Quality Metrics
Please complete and return to:
Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer
PO BOX 2023
Lower Burrell, PA 15068
ATTN: Marla Wagner
The Woiner Foundation is proud to assist Dr. Moser, BIDMC and the AFFPC in distributing this important survey.
Pi Sigma Epsilon at Duquesne University has chosen The Woiner Foundation as its chapter philanthropy.
PSE is the only national, professional, fraternity for men and women in the fields of sales, marketing and management. PSE gives its members the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, participate in conferences both regionally and nationally, and network with top executives through PSE’s corporate partners. Currently, PSE has over 60 active chapters at Universities across the United States.
PSE will provide financial and member support to the foundation through on campus fundraising and volunteering at events, including the Tim and Rita Woiner Memorial Golf Outing and the 3-2-1 Ride.
Thank you to PSE for your support!