GRACE :: News/Info

Watch Ken Burns’s Documentary on the History of Cancer, Adapted from “The Emperor of All Maladies” This Week on PBS

Starting tomorrow, Monday, 3/30, and running over three nights, our US-based audience can tune into their public broadcasting station (PBS) to watch a cancer documentary unlike one ever produced. Ken Burns, the definitive historian documentarian of our era, who has covered topics ranging from the American Civil War to Prohibition to Jazz to baseball, has produced what we should all expect will be the richest history of cancer ever portrayed, using the excellent Pulizer Prize-winning book “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” by Siddhartha Mukherjee as the leading source material.

Story of Cancer emperor of all maladies

This is a widely anticipated event throughout the cancer world.  The US National Cancer Institute (NCI) will be leading a “live tweeting” event throughout the broadcasting of each episode, about which you can learn more here.  I’ll be participating in that as well as upcoming commentary on Medscape that provides additional perspective from those of us living “the story of cancer”. For that matter, it’s likely that everyone in the audience is also part of that story, so you’re encouraged to watch and participate.

Though I haven’t yet seen the documentary, I’ve read the book and therefore have a fairly good idea of the breadth of what it will cover. In the wake of its presentation, I’ll offer my impressions of what we can expect as the biggest changes for the next several years, the present and future chapters of this ongoing story.  Here are my top 5 truly cancer world-changing events occurring right now, in real time, that will form the core of the next 10 years of cancer care:

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Why I Give to GRACE

After she developed lung cancer in 2007, my wife Barb would log onto GRACE – the marvelous resource founded by Dr. Howard Jack West – for information that would allow her to play a proactive role in fighting her disease.

“I wish I could do something to help  Dr. West expand his great work,” Barb would say time and again during the years she battled lung cancer before passing away in December, 2013.

Barbara Murphy

Barbara Murphy

Now she’s getting her wish: Barb’s family and friends have created the Barb’s Beer Foundation and a light-bodied Northwest amber called “Barb’s Beer.” The foundation is signing up restaurants and taverns to put the beer on their taps to generate funds to support Dr. West and GRACE, as Barb would wish. We are lucky to have a friend, a talented brewmaster, Chuck Hohing, who created the recipe for us, based on input as to the kind of beer Barb – a marathon runner and beer lover – would like.

Northsound Brewery in Mt. Vernon produced the first batch commercially and we introduced Barb’s Beer in Bellingham, Washington this past July at LaFiamma Wood Fire Pizza. LaFiamma was Barb’s favorite restaurant where she and I would go every Friday for beer, pizza and “great conversation,” as Barb described – catching up on the week’s events in each of our lives.

To no one’s surprise Barb’s Beer is great-tasting and became the best selling beer at LaFiamma over the summer, raising $3125 for GRACE from July through September. Now five restaurants in Bellingham have signed on to serve the beer and we’re getting ready to expand to Seattle in early 2015 and then beyond as we strive to create an “engine” that can generate funds for GRACE over the long-term.

Presenting the first Barb's Beer Foundation check to Dr. West

Presenting the first Barb’s Beer Foundation check to Dr. West

Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie Westlake, one of Seattle’s leading pizza restaurants, will kick off the expansion to Seattle on February 11 – from there the plan is to expand to restaurants throughout Seattle as a platform for national expansion, including in New York City and Boston where we already have interest.

Why all this effort? First because it fulfills Barb’s desire to support Dr. West who was so kind and caring to her during the six years of her illness, as he is to all his patients. But also because GRACE is an ingenious concept that uses digital means to provide leading physicians and researchers around the world with an opportunity to share their findings on promising trials at the speed of light. That speed empowers patients to take the time to learn more about their disease, and that in turn makes them proactive agents with their physicians in treating their cancers.

That’s something worth contributing to, and in the case of Barb’s Beer that’s worth raising a toast to – the idea that one day with everyone working hard in their own way to channel support to GRACE, Dr. West and his colleagues may well produce a cure that could save someone’s life – so that another family doesn’t have to lose the person dear to them.

Please consider making a donation to GRACE today.

Donate buttonTom Murphy (“usanice1″) is Director of Human Resiliency at Fordham University and the husband of Barbara Murphy.


Learn more about Barb’s Beer at http://www.barbsbeer.org/.


 


GRACE Highlights from 2014: Please Help Us for 2015 and Beyond!

In person and on the GRACE website, we often hear people express their profound thanks for the free services and especially the thoughtful, timely information we provide when people need it most. And unlike many other sources of information, you know that there is a person behind that perspective, and on our better days we foster a sense of a community of people working toward a common goal. We strive to do that without peppering people with frequent requests for financial support.

As we come to the end of 2014, I’d like to highlight some of our achievements for this past year and request that you please consider contributing to GRACE. We have provided several new initiatives, and we need more support to ensure sustainable progress.

ROS1 patients at the Acquired Resistance Patient Forum, September 2014

ROS1 patients at the Acquired Resistance Patient Forum, September 2014

First, 2014 marked a big transition as we launched 3 separate live patient forums, in Santa Monica in February, then Boston in September, and most recently in Chicago in late October. These programs brought together over 200 people who expressed profound appreciation of the opportunity to connect with other patients facing similar circumstances, as well as with many of the experts on our faculty, which included both global leaders in the topic of the day as well as patient advocates.

For some, it was an opportunity to finally meet people with whom they have felt an online kinship for months or years. It was even an opportunity to convene probably the largest group of ROS1 rearrangement-positive patients in one place, ever. These programs were all captured on video to provide the insights from the day to a broad audience of people around the world who could benefit from these presentations.

We also offered a huge amount of new content throughout the year, all the way from our highlights of last year into new molecular targeted therapies and other new research presented at the “Targeted Therapies in Lung Cancer” conference in Southern California to commentary from our big annual ASCO meeting, and more. Altogether, we have added more than 120 videos this year.

Tannir vid freezeAt the same time, we still provide news content in text form, with about 50 written updates of news blogs that are easy to share. We’re also putting our more and more of our content on social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others.

We truly need support from our audience to ensure that we can continue to provide great content at no cost to the people who need it. We know that many people are very grateful for the support and insight we provide, but we need support from others to continue with a sustainable model for the future.

I don’t receive any pay for the work I do for GRACE, and I put my money where my mouth is by donating to GRACE. I hope that you also find GRACE worthy of your support and will provide a tax-deductible gift to GRACE as well. 

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Join GRACE at the Barb’s Beer Salute to Jack West Oct. 2

Barbara Murphy with beer

Barbara Murphy was a great runner, wife, mother and friend. She passed away last December from lung cancer that was initially diagnosed in 2007.

This past July, her family launched the Barb’s Beer Foundation. Working with brewmaster Chuck Hohing and the Northsound Brewery in Mt. Vernon, Washington, they developed a recipe for Barb’s Beer and began selling it at a single restaurant in Bellingham called La Fiamma. Proceeds from every sale benefit the Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education (GRACE).

On Thursday, October 2nd, the Foundation will present GRACE Founder and Board Chair Dr. Jack West with the first money raised since that launch. They will also announce their plans for the expansion of beer sales to other venues in the Seattle area.

Barbs Beer logo

The Foundation and GRACE invite you to join the celebration as the Barb’s Beer Foundation salutes Dr. West and the work of GRACE (and also enjoy some great brew)!

When: Thursday, October 2, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Where: La Fiamma, 200 E Chestnut St, Bellingham, WA 98225

Our thanks to Barbara’s family and the Barb’s Beer Foundation for their support of GRACE. If you live in the Seattle area, please support La Fiamma and other restaurants that will soon start selling Barb’s Beer.

Like Barb’s Beer on Facebook!


Wondering what the recent GRACE Website shaking and rumbling is all about?

GRACE Under ConstructionOkay, I was just kidding about the shaking and rumbling, but we have been making some significant changes to the GRACE website lately, thanks in part to your generous donations to our Website Rebuild fundraising campaign.
(Please keep ‘em comin’ – there’s a LOT left to do!)

Most of the changes have been “under the hood,” but some have been visible and are hopefully already improving your experience on the site, especially in terms of page loading times.

In order to keep you informed about these updates in a more timely fashion, we’ve created a GRACE Site Ongoing Improvements forum topic where I’ll be making periodic posts to share our progress. Registered members (free) can also discuss the changes there with the GRACE staff.

We’re always interested in your feedback and suggestions for the GRACE site and welcome your participation.

Thanks and Cheers!

-Mark
 GRACE Webmaster & Podcast Engineer


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