Featured Supporter: Dr. Elsey’s Fund to Cure Cancer
Dr. Bruce and Kathy Elsey, longtime supporters of the MMRF, and devoted philanthropists, established the Dr. Elsey’s Fund to Cure Cancer in 2014 with a $1 million matching gift that urgently enables meaningful scientific and diagnostic advances to fuel critical new therapies and results for patients to help cure cancer now. Since 2009, the Elseys and their company Precious Cat have contributed the transformative support of nearly $9 million to support the mission of the MMRF to drive advancements in cancer research to accelerate a cure.
“Our family has cancer. We feel blessed that our family, that has multiple myeloma, can support Kathy Giusti’s much larger family that also has multiple myeloma. Kathy Giusti’s family is the MMRF and they are working tirelessly to quickly find a cure. We believe that a cure will come as a result of prayer and action. Let us not love in word but in action,” Dr. Bruce Elsey has said.
Since Kathy Elsey’s diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 2009, they have combined corporate success with a philanthropic cause: a commitment to cure cancer. Drawing on a unique business model, the Colorado couple sought to create an innovative way to share their success with the MMRF and myeloma patients everywhere. The answer came in the creation of a collaborative business model that supports the MMRF by Precious Cat directing a portion of their customers’ purchases towards curing cancer through the development of new treatments with real promise for patients who have no time to waste.
Through their unique business model the Elseys hope to inspire other individuals and companies to initiate similar programs. By utilizing this approach, the Elseys and Precious Cat not only generate much-needed funding to leverage progress into new treatments and cures for patients, but help to educate the public about the vital goals of the MMRF to fuel innovation, foster collaboration and speed clinical trials.
As the Elseys demonstrate, opportunities abound for other entrepreneurs to combine their passion and business acumen to help fund a vital cause like cancer research, and ultimately find a cure through the MMRF.
Their visionary leadership and inspirational support of the MMRF’s scientific and patient programs have enabled advances that would otherwise not be possible. In addition, they have inspired further support through generous contributions from thousands of other donors. The establishment of Dr. Elsey’s Fund to Cure Cancer will allow the MMRF to drive closer than ever towards a cure.
The Dr. Elsey’s Fund to Cure Cancer Will Support:
- Genomic technologies and molecular profiling
- CoMMpass Data
- New Drug Discovery and Target Validation
- Translational Research for new potential therapies and novel combinations
- The Three Key Pillars of New Myeloma Treatments:
- Molecularly targeted drugs
- Novel drug classes and combinations
- Patient education programs and resources
Nancy and Steve Grand
The Grands’ early investment in the MMRF, which is the largest donation in the organization’s history, built the foundation for the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC), the tissue bank, and genomic initiatives that have accelerated clinical trials.
Mr. Grand is co-founder of Grand-Sakwa Properties, one of southeastern Michigan’s major developers of residential and retail properties, and has been recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as one the most generous people in the United States.
He and his wife have recently established the Grand Water Research Institute as well as the University of California at San Francisco’s Grand Multiple Myeloma Translational Initiative. They are also avid supporters of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science to support research within the institute’s Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine.
In addition to his role on the board of the MMRF, Mr. Grand serves on the board of the Karmanos Cancer Institute, Focus Hope, American Technion Society, and the Endowment Committee of the Jewish Federation of San Francisco.
William K. Bowes, Jr.
The MMRF is saddened at the loss of MMRF Board Member and friend Bill Bowes, who made invaluable contributions to the organization as a longstanding Board Member and who was a devoted champion of precision medicine. In 2010, his leadership gift enabled the launch of the MMRF CoMMpass Study, the cornerstone of the MMRF Precision Medicine Initiative. Thanks to his vision and compassion, extraordinary advances have been made to accelerate precision medicine approaches for the benefit of countless cancer patients.
Throughout his career, two of Bowes’ great loves have been projects involving education and medical research—interests that have extended far beyond his day job. He was on the executive committee of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and was a former Board Chairman of The Exploratorium, San Francisco’s exemplary interactive museum of the sciences. He also served on the Board of the Asian Art Museum, Grace Cathedral, and the Hoover Institution. And in 1991 he established the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations focused on medical research, access to college, the arts, and higher education.
After serving in the U.S. Army infantry in the South Pacific and Japan during and after World War II, Bowes received a B.A. from Stanford University and later an M.B.A. from Harvard University.
As a non-myeloma cancer survivor Harlan appreciates how the MMRF is paving the way. Its use of clinical big data to accelerate cures for multiple myeloma also serves as a model for other cancers. “Personalized medicine and genetic understanding, I realized, were a big part of the future. I’m very excited to be part of that data share.”
Harlan is a data bank donor in another important way. He has made a sizable financial contribution to the MMRF Data Bank initiative. Some years ago, before he was diagnosed with his cancer, he received a mailing from the MMRF that said, “When two great organizations collaborate, innovation accelerates.” “I still keep that on my desk,” he says. “The concept of sharing information has motivated me to say this is where it’s going, this is where the help will come from. I have great respect for the MMRF and its commitment to do meaningful research that is not just following the current path.”
The Isabel Feld Myeloma Research Fund
The Isabel Feld Myeloma Research Fund was started by Isabel’s daughter, Stephanie Feld, in Isabel’s memory. Isabel became ill in 1997 and was seen by two different hematologists who misdiagnosed her, underlining the importance of patient advocacy and of seeking a second opinion.
Isabel succumbed to the disease very quickly and Stephanie was compelled to do something so other patients would have better outcomes. The fund’s mission is to support the MMRF—to accelerate drug discovery and drive new, more effective treatments to patients.
Our tremendously courageous, inspirational, and simply amazing friend, George, died at home with his family by his side on the evening of June 7, 2014. George took on the challenge that multiple myeloma presented to him, at the time in his life when enjoyment and fulfillment with his wife Norma and his family should have been his only concern, by amazing his doctors and inspiring researchers as he constantly sought new therapies and approaches to fight myeloma, and helping to advance treatments by participating in research studies.
Over the course of 14 years, George succeeded more often than not in keeping his myeloma at bay and minimizing its impact on his family. During this time, George became an ardent partner of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation – for which the Foundation, and patients worldwide who benefited from the work supported by him and his fantastic network of family and friends – are forever grateful. In the last year alone, George’s latest vision – a fund to accelerate the most promising drugs to patients immediately was launched: The George and Norma Fabian Fund for Novel and Precision Therapies. Over $650,000 was received and helped to move three new drugs into clinical trials in less than one year – just the beginning of an inspired legacy.
In George’s honor and at the request of his family, all donations in George’s memory will be applied to the Fabian Fund, in order to fulfill the vision that he so vigorously pursued; to enable the most promising new treatments for patients worldwide, as quickly as possible.