Returning to Utah, after leaving 40 days ago, in completion of a 15,000-mile road trip across America is not only a personal milestone for Dave Fleischer but a momentous occasion for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF) that is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
Journey of Hope
The New Jersey resident, a volunteer and supporter of the foundation, set out last month on the trip called the Journey of Hope. The purpose of his 48-state tour was not only to raise awareness of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), a lethal bile duct cancer that claimed the life of his 35-year-old daughter, Sarah Bennett, but a way to connect with others affected by the disease. He also raised nearly $45,000 along the way from the generosity of supporters and completed his journey in Orem, Utah, on June 30.
“I could have never imagined the life-changing experience this journey would have on me as I drove across the country,” Fleischer said. “I underestimated the impact that this trip would have on current patients and caregivers that have lost somebody. What they’ve told me oftentimes is that they realize that they’re not fighting alone now, and that’s been pretty powerful. I am honored to have met so many people impacted by cholangiocarcinoma, and I know Sarah would be thankful, too.”
Bennett died in 2018 from cholangiocarcinoma, which is diagnosed in more than 10,000 Americans each year. In the past 15 years, the foundation has grown from a small grassroots patient support organization to a global cancer advocacy group that convenes the leading scientists and providers in the field of CCA. The foundation provides a patient voice and perspective to industry partners and has established itself as a rare cancer community leader. Furthermore, the organization has funded more than $2 million in cholangiocarcinoma-specific research. It also sponsors the International Cholangiocarcinoma Research Network (ICRN), a global collaboration of more than 175 world-renowned scientists and researchers from the world’s leading academic medical centers and healthcare institutions.
Fleischer visited a few of those medical centers and institutions in addition to meeting with other cholangiocarcinoma patients, caregivers, and health care providers who were important in Sarah’s life. Stacie Lindsey, CCF founder and CEO, who became close with Sarah and her parents, has been particularly touched by the family’s commitment to bring awareness to the deadly disease that also took her brother’s life in 2005.
“Dave and Linda are a huge inspiration to the CCF community. We are so thankful to them for putting this event together, which will provide hope to our diverse community made up of patients, caregivers, scientists, healthcare providers, volunteers, donors, and others along the
trip. Together, this community is working to find a cure for this deadly disease,” Lindsey said.
Sponsors of the Journey of Hope include:
· QED Therapeutics
· EMD Serono
· Dave Fleischer
· Ken Garff Honda Orem
· Promotion In Motion
Cholangiocarcinoma, pronounced ( koh-LAN-jee-oh-KAR-sih-NOH-muh), is a highly lethal and rare bile duct cancer of the liver with a poor prognosis. With approximately 10,000 cases a year being diagnosed in the United States, cholangiocarcinoma is the second most common primary liver cancer in the world. It is often diagnosed at advanced stages when treatment is only minimally effective, emphasizing the imminent need for novel therapies.
About the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF)
Founded i n 2006, the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation is a global 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to find a cure and improve the quality of life for those affected by bile duct cancer. CCF supports basic & translational research and raises awareness in the cholangiocarcinoma community through advocacy, education, collaboration, and research. For more information, please visit our website at cholangiocarcinoma.org.
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