The actor, activist and author is partnering with the Lung Cancer Research Foundation to raise awareness about lung cancer and pay tribute to Dr. Brendon M. Stiles for his services to the foundation and the lung cancer community
NEW YORK, September 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Ms. Annabelle Gurwitchwho was diagnosed with EGFR Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer when she had a COVID-19 test in 2020, will host the 2022 Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) Innovation Night Gala, in honor of dr. Brendon M. Stiles. Ms Gurwitch recently delivered her remarks at the opening plenary session of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) World Conference on Lung Cancer in Vienna, Austria.
Dr. Stiles is Vice Chairman of the LCRF Board and Scientific Advisory Board and Professor and Chief of the Department of Thoracic Surgery and Surgical Oncology in the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at Montefiore-Einstein, and Associate Director of Services Surgical Centers at the Montefiore- Einstein Cancer Center. He is actively involved in clinical and translational research, particularly in lung cancer. His clinical research focuses on the management of lung cancer at an early stage or detected by screening and on new multidisciplinary treatment strategies for patients with lung cancer. Having lost his own father to lung cancer in 2005, Dr Stiles is committed to fundraising for lung cancer research, serving as LCRF President from 2017-2021.
Ms Gurwitch is approaching her 2-year-old ‘cancer’ and has been undergoing targeted therapy since her diagnosis, about which she has mixed feelings. She shared this personal statement with LCRF:
“My second ‘cancerversary’ is coming this fall, marking 2 years on biomarker-targeted therapy after being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer during a routine COVID test. Biomarker-targeted therapy has allowed me to continue to live with an excellent quality of life and few side effects Yes, I was once so tired that I had to lie down on a sidewalk to rest before I could get within a mile of home and I now drink more coffee than you would think humanly possible, but there is a caveat: lung cancer is a particularly tricky cancer Cancer is finding out how to develop resistance even to these innovative new targeted drugs on genes.
So, I want to help spread the message that researchers, scientists, and doctors who have dedicated their lives to finding new and innovative ways to identify and treat lung cancer — like Dr. Brendon Stiles – are close to understanding and countering this resistance to treatment. The difference in new advances comes down to funding. Here is a view:
- Lung cancer is still the neglected middle child of cancers dwarfed by breast and colon, both in diagnostic testing and fundraising efforts, even though more people will die from lung cancer than from breast and colon cancer, combined.
- Per related death, expenses: $1,680 for lung cancer research versus $24,846 for breast cancer.
For me, there is a countdown. My oncologist has not seen a patient take more than 5 years on the medication I am taking now. The next line of treatment won’t be as easy to tolerate, will impact my quality of life, and once progression begins, time flies even faster. I hope to see resistance overcome; I hope progress will come in time for me. I’m the mother of a 24 year old who graduated from college during a COVID lockdown, and I want to be there to see them settle down, continue to thrive, and (fingers crossed) see little ones -children ! But even if advancement doesn’t come in time for me, I’m determined to ensure that the next person with a diagnosis like mine has a better chance of long-term survival.”
In addition to honoring the career and contributions of Dr. Stiles, the LCRF will honor Dr. David Hidalgo with its first Founder’s Award. The Founders Award honors individuals who make a significant contribution to LCRF and exemplify the spirit and ideals of the organization’s founders.
“We are thrilled to honor both Dr. Stiles and Dr. Hidalgo at this event,” said Queen Honts, Chairman of the LCRF Board of Directors. “Dr. Stiles’ personal and professional contribution to lung cancer patients and his commitment to accelerating lung cancer research are immeasurable. We are indebted to Dr. Hidalgo’s longstanding support of lung cancer research and to the mission of LCRF. It is a pleasure for me to recognize them both for their contributions.”
The LCRF Innovation Night Gala is sponsored in part by Bristol Myers Squibb. Supporters of lung cancer research can still donate to the event, which will be held on September 28 at the Metropolitan Club of New York Cityby visiting LCRF.org/gala.
About Annabelle Gurwitch:
Annabelle Gurwitch is a New York Times bestselling author of five books, including his most recent collection of essays, “You’re Leaving When? Adventures in Downward Mobility” (paperback, Spring 2022) has New York Times’ Favorite Book for Healthy Living 2021. Ms. Gurwitch has been the longtime host of Dinner & a Movie on TBS, a regular NPR contributor and has written for The New Yorker, New York Times, The Washington Post, Hadassah Magazine, O Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She co-hosts the small victories podcast on the Maximum Fun Podcast Network, and recently published an article in the Washington Post titled “Fighting Cancer While Fighting the Insurance System”.
Ms. Gurwitch has been an activist for many causes including environmental sustainability and housing insecurity. In the spring of 2020, a routine Covid test led to the diagnosis of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. Ms Gurwitch wrote about the diagnosis in a widely shared op-ed, ‘Covid Saved my Life’ in the New York Times. Since then, she has spoken and written about living with lung cancer on Good Morning America and in interviews on Salon.com, NPR and many other outlets. Her most recent cancer column was the viral “The End of My Life Was Killing Me” op-ed in The Washington Post. Gurwitch is a devoted atheist and passionate Jewish mother of a gender queer person in her twenties. She lives in Los Angeles.
About the Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF)
The Lung Cancer Research Foundation® (LCRF) is the leading nonprofit organization focused on funding innovative, high-return research that can prolong survival and improve quality of life for people with lung cancer. . LCRF’s mission is to improve lung cancer outcomes by funding research for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of lung cancer. To date, the LCRF has funded 394 research grants, totaling nearly $39 million, the highest amount provided by a non-profit organization dedicated to funding lung cancer research. For more information, visit lcrf.org.
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications, LCRF
SOURCE Lung Cancer Research Foundation