Building a Bridge to Hope
June - July 2011 Newsletter
June and July figure to be two of the most exciting months in the history of Lazarex Cancer Foundation. The list of patients we are able to help continues to grow, and you will get to meet Michael Robbert through his story in this newsletter. We have also initiated a program to recognize some of our Very Important Patients by naming endurance events after them and enjoying their participation at their event. It's always a special blessing when we can break away from the medical routine and just have fun with some of the people about whom we care most.
We are also hosting the largest, most spectacular and unique event in the history of Lazarex on July 16th. That is the date of our big summer gala to be held at Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga. Those able to join us will ride luxury coaches from one of our designated Bay Area pick up spots to a medieval castle in the heart of wine country. Once there, guests will be entertained by a falconer, a dance band, enjoy a multi-course meal plus appetizers and dessert, all with a hosted bar. Please check out the details later in this newsletter and please make plans to join us. We promise it will be an evening you will remember for a long time. If you haven't bought your tickets yet the discount deadline is June 15th, so don't delay!
Change is in the air! Be on the lookout for the new Lazarex website. By mid June our new website will be live, with a new look and personality. The website URL remains the same: www.lazarex.org.
We also want to share with you our new tagline, "It's About Life." We feel this phrase captures our spirit of not only helping to extend lives, but also to add to the quality of life for our patients and their families. Since everything we do is about life, it just seemed appropriate to formalize what we consider to be our mission. Won't you help us achieve that mission by who you think would be interested in Lazarex? After all, It's About Life.
I hope to see you in Calistoga.
President, Lazarex Cancer Foundation
Join Us for Our 2011 Gala for Hope on a Midsummer Night
Knights, Maidens, a Castle and Moonlight at the Castello di Amorosa
Discount deadline for buying tickets is June 15th!
Note: Bauer Transportation Luxury coaches will leave the Bay Area pickup locations at around 4:15 p.m.
When: Saturday, July 16, 2011 from 6:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Where: Castello di Amorosa at 4045 North Saint Helena Highway, Calistoga, CA 94515
What: An exotic evening of fantastic food catered by Knickerbocker Catering of St. Helena, wine pairings, auction, live entertainment, and dancing
- Falconry, strolling musicians, surprises, castle tours
- Cocktails and appetizers on the Turret
- Paired wine and gourmet dinner in the Barrel Room
- Dessert bar in the Great Hall
- Live auction followed by a live music review of legendary rock songs and groups from the San Francisco Bay area, 1965 - 1985 by City Rocks in the Courtyard
Live auction packages include:
- One Week Hawaiian Getaway for 2 includes airfare, Maui accommodations and more...
- Napa Valley Food and Wine Weekend for 6 includes 2 nights in Napa, limo, lunch, dinner, and wine tasting
- Ceruti Cellars: plan your private party in Cerruti Cellars' barrel room in Jack London Square
- One Week Cabo Getaway: accommodations (air fare not included), spa, golf, fishing and more...
- Las Vegas Weekend for 2 to see Martina McBride in concert, airfare, 2 nights at Las Vegas Hilton, limo service from airport and more...
- Private Dinner Party with personal chefs hosted at beautiful location in Danville, CA
Dress: Black tie optional, cocktail dresses or floor length gowns. Ladies, low heels or wedge shoes recommended for walking on uneven cobblestone floors.
Getting There: Get the party started on board Bauer Transportation luxury coaches (included with your admission) and enjoy safe, round trip transportation from 5 Bay Area locations to Castello di Amorosa. We encourage you to take advantage of the coaches as parking at the castle is limited.
Meet Very Important Patient (VIP) Michael Robbert
My name is Michael Robbert. I am
a 35 year old male working as a computer Systems Administrator in Golden, CO. I am also an avid runner and triathlete living with cancer.
In October 2007, I was training for the Denver marathon. Training was going great, and I felt like I was on track for my best race yet (and I've run quite a few). About 2 weeks before the race I got sick. I passed it off as food poisoning until I nearly fainted in our bathroom. My wife took me into the emergency room where they did emergency surgery to remove an ulcerated tumor from my stomach. Later I found out the tumor was a malignant GIST (Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumor) which had already metastasized to multiple sites in my abdomen. GIST is a rare type of sarcoma known to not respond well to standard chemotherapy nor radiation. Luckily, in recent years research has made it fairly well understood, and there are now targeted chemotherapy drugs that work very well in most cases. I immediately started on Gleevec, the standard first line treatment. Unfortunately, my tumors didn't respond well and continued to grow. A dose increase helped at first, but then started to show signs of growth after a few months. Around that time I decided to get a second opinion from the experts at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). The team of doctors there prescribed a second line drug called Sutent.
The Sutent seemed to be working fairly well with check-ups every 3 months in Houston, TX.
In the fall of 2009, the scans showed that growth had continued again, and we needed to try something new. The doctors decided the most promising option for me was to start a clinical trial for a newer drug called Dasatinib. The protocol for this trial required me to get checkups every 28 days at MDACC in Houston. The travel to Houston was already becoming a burden, but we
decided we needed to go ahead with the best option for my health.
Knowing my travel was going to get even more frequent and expensive, I spent several months investigating and trying out different options for travel assistance. They weren't fitting my needs for various reasons, and the now frequent trips were starting to really take their toll on our finances. Finally I found Lazarex and applied for their assistance. The day I got my acceptance letter saying they would be willing to pay for my airfare and lodging was a huge relief for me and my wife. I have been traveling to Houston every month since, and this has only been possible with the financial assistance I've been receiving from Lazarex.
My doctors have told me I will have cancer the rest of my life, and I should expect to be on one drug or another. Dasatinib is working well for me now, but the doctors expect I'll develop resistance to it eventually. When I do, I'm hopeful I'll find a new trial which may require just as much travel as I'm doing now. As long as Lazarex has the funds to continue helping, my focus can be spent on my fitness rather than my finances. After all, the doctors state my fitness is what helps me tolerate the treatments better than most cancer patients.
Lazarex's goal is clear: To build a bridge to hope for cancer patients and their families. But they cannot do this alone. Lazarex and patients like me rely on the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations in order to succeed. Read about some of our other VIPs
Patients like this month's VIP, Michael, are benefiting from support like this every day. Please help us by who you think would be interested in Lazarex.
Team for Life Events - Join Us, Donate, Have Fun!
Joining Team for Life gives you the chance to directly support Lazarex Cancer Foundation by participating in any endurance event where Lazarex has an official team OR by creating your own fundraising event.
Can't make it to one of our endurance events? Not an athlete? Participate in any event of your choice OR create you own. Whatever you like to do - run, cycle, walk, bake, dance or knit!
We'll help you organize your fundraising efforts with a personalized web page, training, fundraising tips, and most of all, moral support! Plus there are great incentives to help you reach your goals.
Best of all, your fundraising efforts directly benefit the patients of Lazarex Cancer Foundation! To sign up:www.teamforlifelcf.org.
Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2
When: June 25, 2011
Where: Seattle, WA
Run to celebrate Lazarex patient Brittany Hess - "When (we) found Lazarex, it was like an angel had come along and given me the support I needed to keep my fight alive."
Contact Jenny Walls or go to: TFL Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon&1/2
Bibs are available for the Disneyland Half Marathon
When: September 4, 2011
Where: Anaheim, CA
We have bibs for this sold out race!
Run to celebrate Lazarex patient Jessica Marriott - "I can't stress enough how important Lazarex has been to me. I have since moved back home and returned to work, however, I continue to travel back to UCSF on a monthly basis for testing ... Lazarex has been with me every step of the way."
To register Contact Jenny Walls or go to: TFL Disneyland Half Marathon
Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon
When: October 2, 2011
Where: San Jose, CA
Run to celebrate Lazarex Patient Brittani Powell - "By donating to Lazarex Cancer Foundation you are saving lives and I thank you!!"
Contact Jenny Walls or go to: TFL Rock n Roll San Jose 1/2 Marathon
Bibs Available for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Already registered? Earn back your registration fee when you join Team for Life.
When: October 9, 2011
Where: Chicago, IL We have only have 7 bibs left for this sold out race!
Run to celebrate Lazarex patient Kevin Herring - "Lazarex Cancer Foundation cannot help those like me without your support. I trust that there is good and strength in all of us and my challenge to you is to help support life however you can. I wish all of you the best that life can bring."
To register contact Jenny Walls or go to: TFL Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Bibs are available for the Marine Corps Marathon and 10k
Already registered? Earn back your registration fee when you join Team for Life.
When: October 30, 2011
Where: Arlington, VA
We have bibs available for this sold out race!
Run to celebrate Lazarex patient Michael Robbert - "Lazarex and patients like me rely on the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations in order to succeed. We rely on people like YOU! Thank you for all that you are doing to help Lazarex! I cannot communicate how much Lazarex and patients like me appreciate it."
To register contact Jenny Walls or go to: TFL Marine Corps Marathon
Meet Allison Gervis, Medical Liaison for Lazarex
As a Medical Liaison for Lazarex Cancer Foundation, Allison Gervis strives to help patients navigate treatment options and information associated with clinical trials.
Allison graduated with honors from California Polytechnic State University with a degree in businessadministration and worked in the fields of human resource consulting, business education, and career counseling. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Science degree in nursing at California State University, East Bay. Allison decided to go back to school to study nursing after losing her mother to pancreatic cancer in 2007. She is grateful and honored to have the opportunity to help cancer patients with clinical information and resources.
Other Ways You Can Support Lazarex
Donate your car, truck, RV or boat! Please help Lazarex Cancer Foundation build a bridge to hope, dignity and life for cancer patients and their families by donating that unneeded vehicle. We are partnering with Car Donation Services to handle our vehicle donations. They will take very good care of you and they take very good care of us! They use a variety of methods to sell vehicles so vehicles, on average, sell for more, which means more money for us and a larger tax deduction for you.
To donate, please call 1-888-686-4483 and tell them you want to donate your vehicle to Lazarex Cancer Foundation, or complete our donation form . Thank you for your generosity!
|About Lazarex Cancer Foundation
Lazarex Cancer Foundation builds a bridge to hope, dignity and life for cancer patients and their families. We provide financial assistance to defray the costs associated with patient participation in FDA clinical trials. Additionally, we help patients navigate their clinical trial options and provide community education and outreach services. We believe that together we can build a bridge to hope. To learn more, please contact us at 925.820.4517, toll-free at 877.866.9523, or visit us at www.lazarex.org.