Cancer survivors create ‘Circle of Hope’ nonprofit organization
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, killing more than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
But it receives less federal research funding than those other three cancers. But three smart women are trying to bridge the gap.
Joan Tashbar was diagnosed with stage three-b lung cancer after going to her doctor for what she thought was muscle pain.
“I was actually diagnosed in 2004. And I was given two years to live.” Tashbar shared.
Today she is cancer free. Rosa Holloway had the same diagnosis in 2008.
Holloway said, “I said what are my chances? You know and she told me 2 percent.”
Holloway’s cancer came back twice. Twice she beat it. After meeting in a cancer support group, these women wanted to make a difference. They knew funding for new research was limited, so they formed the nonprofit: “Circle of Hope for Cancer Research.”
Tashbar explained, “So we go out we fundraise, and 100% of everything that we take in goes directly to research.”
Researcher Candace Fox is working on a better treatment for lung cancer. She takes it personally. She lost her grandfather to it.
“Seeing all the side effects that are ensued by these treatment options are … was a very tough experience.” Fox said.
Fox is looking at a possible combination therapy using an oncolytic virus and chemotherapy.
Fox explained, “An oncolytic virus is a virus that can selectively infect and target cancer cells, while leaving normal healthy cells unaffected.”
Tashbar, Holloway, and a panel of scientists saw promise in Fox’s work, and awarded her an eight thousand dollar grant.
Holloway said, “That’s where we come in. we can give them the first step.”
And that step allows fox to take her research to the next level: study in animals. Because there’s one goal in mind:
“Well we’ve got to find a cure,” said Holloway.
Circle of Hope gives away two $10,000 grants per year. Tashbar and Holloway hope to attract more volunteers, donations, and corporate sponsors. A University of Florida student they funded credits Circle of Hope with his successful brain cancer research. His therapy is about to be tested in a clinical trial.
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