2012 Symposium Video Presentations

Donor Reception - July 11, 2012

Daniel Sterman, MD
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center

Dr. Sterman is currently Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor of Medicine in Surgery, and the Director of the PENN Interventional Pulmonology Program and Clinical Director of the Thoracic Oncology Gene Therapy Program of the Center for Lung Cancer and Related Disorders of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. His clinical interests are related to the treatment of thoracic malignancies, specifically as they apply to the synergy of molecular medicine and novel technologies in Interventional Pulmonology. His research interests are in the translation of laboratory discoveries from the bench to the bedside: conducting human clinical trials of gene therapy and vaccine therapy for lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other pleural malignancies.

Heather Von St. James
Heather Von St. James is the young mom of Lily – who will turn seven in a couple of week -- and wife of Cameron. Heather owned and operated a successful hair salon in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, when, shortly after Lily was born in 2005, she was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Since then, she had to give up her business, but she has become an accomplished speaker, a blogger, and a tireless advocate for a disease she didn’t even know existed seven years ago. Heather is a dear and respected friend of the Meso Foundation where she's known for bringing hope and sunshine to all she encounters.

 



Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP): What it's all about?

Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner
Medical Liaison, Meso Foundation

Mary Hesdorffer received her undergraduate degree at the College of New Rochelle in NY and went on to receive her Masters of Science at the same institution. She is fully credentialed as a Nurse Practitioner and has spent 15 years actively treating patients with mesothelioma. Mary has an expertise in the development and implementation of clinical trials. She has published in peer reviewed journals and has lectured nationally on the topics pertaining to mesothelioma with particular emphasis on clinical trials as well as symptom and disease management. She is well known to the Foundation's community having attended and spoken at many of our symposiums. Mary is passionate in her commitment to the treatment and management of this disease and hopes to increase awareness of the need to advance the science that will lead to a cure. She is available via phone or email to assist patients and caregivers as they move from chaos to control of this new situation they find themselves thrust into.

Julie Gundlach

Julie Gundlach is a brave meso warrior that was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma at the young age of 35.  Ms. Gundlach is a young wife and mother who has become empowered to use her voice to advocate for herself and all mesothelioma patients.  She has presented at conferences and has been featured not only on her local news, but also on CNN.  Her oratory skills are remarkable, eloquent and passionate, never failing to bring a room to tears.  Her story is powerful, a young mother with mesothelioma opens the world’s eyes to the fact that anyone can get mesothelioma.  Ms. Gundlach has volunteered her time to serve as a consumer reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for the second time this year.



Progress in Mesothelioma Research

Lee Krug, MD
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Chair, Meso Foundation Science Advisory Board and Member, Meso Foundation Board of Directors

Lee M. Krug, MD, is an Associate Attending Physician in the Division of Thoracic Oncology, Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York where he completed a fellowship and chief fellowship in medical oncology. Dr. Krug is the Director of the Mesothelioma Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Krug has investigated multimodality approaches for patients with early stage malignant pleural mesothelioma. He led a multicenter U.S. trial of induction chemotherapy before extrapleural pneumonectomy, and he has a current study testing the feasibility of chemotherapy followed by pleural radiation. Dr. Krug also has a strong interest in novel therapeutics for patients with more advanced disease. He conducted a phase I trial with a WT-1 peptide vaccine, and he was awarded a grant from the Department of Defense to conduct a randomized phase II trial with this vaccine. He is also the principal investigator of an international, phase III trial of a histone deacetylase inhibitor, vorinostat. Dr. Krug led the committee for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) that established treatment guidelines for mesothelioma. He is the chair of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Meso Foundation and also serves on the Board of Directors.                                                         



Demystifying Scientific Breakthroughs

 

Raja M. Flores, MD
The Mount Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Raja M. Flores is the Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, Ames Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Flores’ is a recognized leader in the field of Thoracic Surgery for his pioneering efforts in the treatment of mesothelioma. He has established VATS lobectomy, a minimally invasive approach using three small incisions, as the gold standard in the surgical treatment of lung cancer.  He published two sentinel studies validating its oncological effectiveness by demonstrating equivalent survival and recurrence rates with fewer complications and shorter hospital stays when compared to standard thoracotomy.  Dr. Flores implemented the current program for this procedure at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was a lead investigator in a multicenter trial of neoadjuvant alimta/cisplatin, extrapleural pneumonectomy, and high-dose radiation which is designed to improve outcomes.  Dr. Flores currently has one of the largest VATS lobectomy experiences in the world. He is in the process of publishing, and has presented this data at the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Flores’ additional research interests are based on numerous past projects relating to the multimodality management of malignant pleural mesothelioma, as well as innovative surgical techniques in minimally invasive thoracic surgery for lung cancer. He has led a number of major studies, including clinical trials of neoadjuvant gemcitabine and cisplatin followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy and high dose radiation.
After earning an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from New York University, Dr. Flores attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, receiving his Medical Degree in 1992. He then spent five years at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center pursuing his General Surgery Internship and General Surgery Residency. He then completed a Thoracic Oncology Clinical Research Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana Faber Cancer Institute/CALGB in Boston, and his Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He also received a Masters in Biostatistics from Columbia University.  Dr. Flores is a member of numerous medical and surgical societies and serves on several editorial boards. 

Steven M. Hahn, MD
University of Pennsylvania – Perelman School of Medicine

Dr. Hahn obtained his MD degree with honors from Temple University in Philadelphia and then trained first in Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where he was Chief Resident in 1987-88.  Dr. Hahn completed a Medical Oncology training program at the National Cancer Institute. He is board certified Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology and Radiation Oncology. Dr. Hahn joined the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine in 1996 as an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology.  He was promoted to full Professor and became Chairman of the Department in August 2005. 
Dr. Hahn’s clinical expertise’s are in the areas of lung cancer, mesothelioma, prostate cancer and soft tissue sarcoma.  Due to his remarkable background in internal medicine, medical oncology and radiation oncology, Dr. Hahn has an extraordinary breadth and depth of view, and is sought after for referrals on cases by physicians throughout the Philadelphia region. 

Harvey I. Pass, MD
New York University

Harvey I. Pass, MD, is the Stephen E. Banner Professor of Thoracic Oncology, Vice Chairman, Research, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Director, Division of Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology for the NYU Langone Medical Center and School of Medicine. Dr. Pass received his undergraduate education from Johns Hopkins University and graduated from Duke University Medical School. He trained in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. He was a Senior Staff Fellow in the Thoracic Oncology Section at the National Cancer Institute/NHI in Bethesda, MD from 1983 to 1986 and became Head of Thoracic Oncology at NCI from 1986 to 1996. Before moving to New York, he was Professor of Surgery and Oncology for Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. Dr. Pass has been continuously funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, or the CDC since 1998, and has co-authored over 380 original reports. He has edited four editions of Lung Cancer: Principles and Practice. Dr. Pass has received the NIH Directors Award, the Presidents Award for Clinical Research at Karmanos Cancer Institute, the Wagner Medal from the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, the Landon Award for International Science from the AACR, and the Pioneer Award from the Meso Foundation. He has been a Board Member of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, the Addario Foundation, and the Lung Cancer Alliance. Dr. Pass has been recognized as an America’s Top Doctor and Best Cancer Doctor by Castle Connoly’s Guide for the last 10 years.

Daniel Sterman, MD
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center

Dr. Sterman is currently Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor of Medicine in Surgery, and the Director of the PENN Interventional Pulmonology Program and Clinical Director of the Thoracic Oncology Gene Therapy Program of the Center for Lung Cancer and Related Disorders of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. His clinical interests are related to the treatment of thoracic malignancies, specifically as they apply to the synergy of molecular medicine and novel technologies in Interventional Pulmonology. His research interests are in the translation of laboratory discoveries from the bench to the bedside: conducting human clinical trials of gene therapy and vaccine therapy for lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other pleural malignancies.

David J. Sugarbaker, MD
Brigham & Women’s Hospital

David J. Sugarbaker is the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgical Oncology at Harvard Medical School, the Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Philip E. Lowe Senior at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Sugarbaker attended Wheaton College in Wheaton Illinois and then went on to attend Cornell University Medical College in New York. He completed his residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and his cardiothoracic training at the Toronto General Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Following his training in Toronto in 1988, Dr. Sugarbaker return to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston appointed as Chief of the newly formed Division of Thoracic Surgery.

The Division of Thoracic Surgery has grown to one of the largest in the nation performing over 3700 cases/year with 14 staff surgeons and 3 research associates. Dr. Sugarbaker pioneered the technique of extrapleural pneumonectomy and its application to patients with mesothelioma. He has developed innovative multimodality therapies and directed translation research programs in this disease that are known worldwide. He is Founder and Director of the International Pleural Mesothelioma Program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. During Dr. Sugarbaker’s tenure at the Harvard Medical School, he has had the opportunity of mentoring many residents both in the General Surgery Program and the Cardiothoracic Program. Dr. Sugarbaker is well known both on a national and international level. He travels extensively being invited to lecture at various hospitals, society and association meetings here in the United States, Europe, Japan, China and Australia. Dr. Sugarbaker has published extensively in all the top journals and textbooks.



Survivorship: living with and beyond cancer

Ravin Garg, MD
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Ravin Garg was born in Troy, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor for his undergraduate studies and he was elected into Phi Beta Kappa.   He earned his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. While at the University of Chicago, he was awarded the Humanism in Medicine Award, given to the one graduating medical student who displayed the highest level of empathy and professionalism. He returned to the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor for his Internal Medicine Residency. After residency, he was an Instructor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital where he supervised both Residents and Medical students. He completed his Hematology and Oncology Fellowship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, where he served as Chief Fellow for Education and was awarded the Jesse H. Jones award for teaching excellence. He was awarded the 2010 LBJ Fellow of the Year. He has published in several first-author journal articles appearing in Cancer, Leukemia, and Blood.
Dr. Garg is board certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, and Hematology. He has been an invited speaker for the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board review. He is also an Assistant Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins where he works part-time with the Oncology fellows. He helps with the Breast cancer survivorship clinic at Anne Arundel Hospital.



Legal Panel 2012

Kirk Wiedemer, Esq.
Panel Moderator

Kirk Wiedemer is a sole practioner in Philadelphia. His practice concentrates on international business and immigration law related to China. Prior to working in international law, Kirk worked as a trial lawyer for a plaintiff asbestos law firm and as a state and local prosecutor in Pennsylvania.
Kirk earned his JD degree from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, an LPN Nursing Certificate from the University of Maryland, and a BA degree from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York.

Andrew M. Cantor, Esq.
Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos

Andrew M. Cantor is a member of the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos. His areas of practice include personal injury cases involving mesothelioma, products liability and toxic torts. As a lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland, attorney Cantor serves Baltimore City County, as well as clients throughout Maryland.
Andrew earned a BA from the University of Maryland. He also earned his law degree from University of Maryland.

Robert Komitor, Esq.
Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP

Bob Komitor is a partner at Levy, Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP. He serves as lead trial lawyer specializing in products liability, negligence, and personal injury cases involving mesothelioma, hazardous wastes, and pollution. His trial work in mesothelioma spans his entire legal career.
Bob earned a Master’s Degree in Environmental Sciences from Stony Brook University. He earned a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law, where he was editor of the Law Review.



Gala Celebration of Hope | 2012 Symposium

 

Gala Celebration of Hope

Dr. Axel-Rainer Hanauske
Ely Lilly & Co.
Co-chair of the Meso Foundation Board of Directors

Please see above for previous biography.

Richard Mosca - MC
Treasurer, Meso Foundation Board of Directors

Richard Mosca was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in December 2006. He has been an active member of the patient community for five plus years and has attended the last five international symposiums including advocacy day on Capitol Hill. Through the Meso Foundation he has participated in four CDMRP research grant panels giving him a unique perspective on the scientific communities focus and dedication most patients don't experience. Mr. Mosca brings with him extensive leadership skills in the IT industry by managing a staff of 15 developers. At the end of his career, he was charged with managing the software distribution and computer security for over 17,000 workstations and servers with a staff of three. Richard Mosca was elected as treasurer to the board in 2010.

Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award Recipient

Bonnie Anderson
Advocate and Volunteer, Meso Foundation

Bonnie Anderson, between breaking into a male-dominated heavy industry field during the 1970’s, performing investigative research in areas well beyond her college degrees, and facing (and surviving) mesothelioma, has definitely proven herself capable of overcoming the greatest of life’s challenges.

Her journey began shortly after graduating from college with a dual degree in Elementary Education and Library Science. Faced with few options, as the year was 1974 and the Vietnam War caused low enrollment in primary schools, Bonnie applied for a posting at a local oil refinery in mechanics. She completed a three-year training program to become part of a vanguard of female industrial electricians. For twelve years she worked in the strenuous environment of heavy industry before returning to her love of teaching and of research. That’s when she became a middle school librarian and never looked back.

It was in 2001 when Bonnie was becoming increasingly ill. A year later, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

In November 2011, Bonnie was honored by the New Jersey Work Environment Council for her mesothelioma advocacy. A nine-year meso survivor, Bonnie was recognized alongside a distinguished group of honorees including Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Congressman Frank Pallone of NJ’s 6th Congressional District. Bonnie was chosen for “raising awareness about asbestos-caused mesothelioma by getting bills passed in New Jersey and Congress to designate September 26 as Mesothelioma Awareness Day and for winning a landmark lawsuit against ExxonMobil for secondhand exposure to asbestos.”

Klaus Brauch Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients

Janice Malkotsis and Erica Iacono
Volunteer Fundraisers, Meso Foundation

Before the loss of her dad in 2005, Janice Malkotsis made a promise to do what she could to raise awareness (and support researchers to find a cure) for mesothelioma. To this day, she continues to do so with the annual 5K Walk for Hope, which she created with Erica Iacono. When not raising money for this cause, Janice is the assistant managing editor of Whole Living magazine and lives in Long Island with her husband, son and daughter.

Erica Iacono is a native New Yorker and has been involved with The Meso Foundation since shortly after it was founded in 2000, Motivated by the death of her father, Anthony, at the age of 51 from pleural mesothelioma, she set out to not only raise awareness of meso, but also help raise money to fund research for treatment, and one day, a cure. In 2005, she met Janice Malkotsis through The Foundation and they started the 5K Walk for Hope, which began in 2006. Over the past six years, the event has raised more than $100,000 for mesothelioma research and they hope it will continue for many years to come. 

Pioneer Award Recipient

David Sugarbaker, MD
Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Please see above for previous biography.



Moving Forward - How the Meso Foundation Expands Its Reach Through Research and Support

Kathy Wiedemer, MBA
Executive Director, Meso Foundation

Ms. Wiedemer has been Executive Director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation since April, 2010. Her initial charge was accomplished with the relocation of the Foundation operations from Santa Barbara, California to Alexandria, Virginia. She is positioning the Foundation to effectively achieve its mission of eliminating the suffering caused by mesothelioma through research, education and support, raising awareness and advocacy to increase federal funding for mesothelioma research. In her role as head of the Meso Foundation, Ms. Wiedemer actively serves in committee positions to both the National Health Council and IASLC (International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer). She also serves on the steering committee of the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank.


Ms. Wiedemer brings a depth of experience in non-profit leadership and fundraising management. As president of the University Community Hospital Foundation in Tampa, Florida, she led a campaign to build a heart hospital. She also headed the Bethesda Hospital Foundation in Boynton Beach, Florida and established an endowment campaign that eventually raised $100 million. In both positions she worked closely with the Foundation Boards and at UCH was a member of the senior management team.
Prior to joining the Meso Foundation, Ms. Wiedemer was Executive Director of Development at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University. In that role she was responsible for all development operations including cause related marketing, communications and strategic planning. She also led the development arm of the ASCO Cancer Foundation. Under her direct leadership, organizations have raised more than $75 million to advance their mission. Ms. Wiedemer is a graduate of the University of Dayton, in Dayton Ohio, holds a Masters in Education from Nazareth College in Rochester, New York and an MBA from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She has also earned the designation of Certified Fund Raising Executive.



A life well lived by Hanne Mintz

Hanne Mintz
Co-chair of the Meso Foundation Board of Directors

Hanne Mintz is President of Paragon Language Services, Inc., a professional translation and interpreting agency providing services in over 90 languages, catering to all industries and disciplines. Hanne was born in Sweden and educated in Sweden, England and the United States.

The Mintz family was pulled into what to them was the previously unknown world of meso when Hanne’s 30 year-old son, Adam, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. Adam was a chef, an outdoorsman, a skier and hiker, a prankster, and a kind and generous young man. No one really knows how Adam was exposed to asbestos; however, every school he attended was contaminated, and the house where the family lived for 32 years was found to have transite, a common building material made from asbestos and cement. Adam’s sister, Marina, helped care for Adam while the family watched his steady, painful decline, wasting away from a 190lb young man to a 125lb shadow, 2½ years after his diagnosis.

Hanne is passionate about finding treatment and a cure. She began her quest when Adam was first diagnosed, and spent days and nights on the internet looking for any glimmer of hope, calling researchers, begging for Adam to be included in any treatment, however experimental. She knows the answers are out there, she is determined to make a difference and has pledged all her energy to support the Meso Foundation in its quest to save lives.



How to craft the next chapter in your life after major loss

Deborah S. Levinson, LCSW

Deborah S Levinson is a Johns Hopkins trained psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker in practice in Manhattan and in Maryland. She published a model for the process of adjustment after major loss. She lectures all over the country. She has written three books: The Next Beginning, A Workbook, and Stories of Renewal.



Easing Pain for Patients with Malignant Mesothelioma

Catherine Mondonedo, NP
Columbia University Medical Center

Catherine Mondonedo is the senior Nurse Practitioner on the Adult Palliative Care Service at New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center. Along with assisting the medical community with pain and symptom management, she has played a vital role in helping patients and their families navigate the complicated road of health care. Ms. Mondonedo obtained her Master's Degree in Nursing from Columbia University and has been a nurse practitioner for more than 10 years. She has an expressed interest in education and has been guest lecturing in various settings.  

Fran Heller, MSW
Columbia University Medical Center

Fran Heller, LMSW ACPH-SW received her Masters of Social Work from Yeshiva University.  She is the Senior Social Worker on the Palliative Care Consult Service at NY Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center.  This is an interdisciplinary team consisting of a social worker, nurse practitioner and MD.  The team addresses many quality of life issues confronting patients with a life limiting diagnosis and seeks to reduce suffering on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.  This is done mostly by addressing symptoms and working together with the patients’ families from a holistic perspective.  She is also involved in the Narrative Medicine program at Columbia and has been co-facilitator for the past 5 years of the Team Continuum Narrative Writing Program for Patients, Caregivers, and Clinicians.  Fran has spent this year as an NYU Zelda Foster Fellow in Social Work Leadership in Palliative and End of Life Care and is in the process of compiling an assessment of the status of palliative care in the Dominican Republic in order to build a bridge between Dominican patients in the US and practitioners in the DR.



Introduction - Volunteer Fundraising

After viewing this introduction, please make sure to also watch the main Volunteer Fundraising session! 

Shelly Kozicki
Community Fundraising Committee Co-chair

Shelly Kozicki has been involved with the Meso Foundation for over 14 years, since her dear husband Craig received his devastating diagnosis. Shelly lovingly cared for Craig for 11 years before he lost his battle with mesothelioma in April, 2009.  She has dedicated her life to finding a cure, and has taking an active role in the mesothelioma community.
Shelly is the first person to start a named grant in in honor of her husband, Craig, raising $100,000 to fund the first Craig Kozicki Research Grant in 2007. She has hosted or helped host trivia nights, golf tournaments, Quartermanias, letter writing campaigns and other events to support the Meso Foundation. Shelly has now funded two $100,000 Craig Kozicki Research Grants and is well on her way to funding a third. Shelly will reach a major milestone of raising a total of $250,000 for the Foundation this year. Shelly’s hard work and dedication has been an inspiration to members of the community that have followed her lead and funded named grants for their loved ones.
Shelly lives in St. Charles, MO but can often be found visiting daughter Emily and her husband Kyle (and granddog Hazel) in Madison, WI.  She enjoys traveling, bowling and spending time with her family and friends.

Erica Ruble
Community Fundraising Committee Co-Chair

Erica Ruble’s life was forever changed when her dad, Lance Ruble was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in August 2007. He bravely chose to endure all treatment options that were available. Despite, having chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation he passed away in 12 months. Watching her hero succumb to such a deadly disease ignited a fire in her to make a difference and raise funds for mesothelioma research. She attended the Mesothelioma Symposium in 2009 and was inspired by fellow Co-Chair, Shelly Kozicki to have a research grant named after her dad. On the one year anniversary of the passing of her dad, she started a massive letter campaign to raise funds for mesothelioma research. With one single letter that she wrote about her dad, she raised $27,000.00 sending the letter to over 350 people who knew Lance. Her contributions to mesothelioma research continue, by raising funds at events such as poker tournaments, roller hockey tournaments, community garage sales, triathlons, partnering with local grocery stores, and with the law firm that represented her dad. Erica and her family have raised over $160,000.00 for mesothelioma research in just 3 years. She is currently fundraising for the second Lance S. Ruble Research Grant. Erica is dedicated to a life-long contribution to mesothelioma research. It is her hope that in her lifetime better treatment options are available for those with mesothelioma so patients do not have to suffer like her dad did. 
Erica is married and has two young children. She is a Board Member and Secretary for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. In her spare time she practices law and is involved with family businesses. 



Volunteer Fundraising

 Download Shelly and Erica's PowerPoint presentation here. 

Shelly Kozicki
Community Fundraising Committee Co-chair

Shelly Kozicki has been involved with the Meso Foundation for over 14 years, since her dear husband Craig received his devastating diagnosis. Shelly lovingly cared for Craig for 11 years before he lost his battle with mesothelioma in April, 2009.  She has dedicated her life to finding a cure, and has taking an active role in the mesothelioma community.
Shelly is the first person to start a named grant in in honor of her husband, Craig, raising $100,000 to fund the first Craig Kozicki Research Grant in 2007. She has hosted or helped host trivia nights, golf tournaments, Quartermanias, letter writing campaigns and other events to support the Meso Foundation. Shelly has now funded two $100,000 Craig Kozicki Research Grants and is well on her way to funding a third. Shelly will reach a major milestone of raising a total of $250,000 for the Foundation this year. Shelly’s hard work and dedication has been an inspiration to members of the community that have followed her lead and funded named grants for their loved ones.
Shelly lives in St. Charles, MO but can often be found visiting daughter Emily and her husband Kyle (and granddog Hazel) in Madison, WI.  She enjoys traveling, bowling and spending time with her family and friends.

Erica Ruble
Community Fundraising Committee Co-Chair

Erica Ruble’s life was forever changed when her dad, Lance Ruble was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in August 2007. He bravely chose to endure all treatment options that were available. Despite, having chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation he passed away in 12 months. Watching her hero succumb to such a deadly disease ignited a fire in her to make a difference and raise funds for mesothelioma research. She attended the Mesothelioma Symposium in 2009 and was inspired by fellow Co-Chair, Shelly Kozicki to have a research grant named after her dad. On the one year anniversary of the passing of her dad, she started a massive letter campaign to raise funds for mesothelioma research. With one single letter that she wrote about her dad, she raised $27,000.00 sending the letter to over 350 people who knew Lance. Her contributions to mesothelioma research continue, by raising funds at events such as poker tournaments, roller hockey tournaments, community garage sales, triathlons, partnering with local grocery stores, and with the law firm that represented her dad. Erica and her family have raised over $160,000.00 for mesothelioma research in just 3 years. She is currently fundraising for the second Lance S. Ruble Research Grant. Erica is dedicated to a life-long contribution to mesothelioma research. It is her hope that in her lifetime better treatment options are available for those with mesothelioma so patients do not have to suffer like her dad did. 
Erica is married and has two young children. She is a Board Member and Secretary for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. In her spare time she practices law and is involved with family businesses. 



Raising Awareness Through Social Media

Tee Morris
Content and Social Media Manager, Meso Foundation

Tee Morris joined the Meso Foundation in the new role of Content and Social Media Manager. His focus here at the Foundation is to provide up-to-date and informative mesothelioma-related content in the form of blogs, podcasts, and other content outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Tee is an accomplished writer, instructor, and public speaker on social media concepts, and has written books such as Podcasting for Dummies (co-written with Evo Terra) and All a Twitter. He also regularly speaks about these topics at various conferences and seminars. Tee is a husband, a dad, and a well-trained human to five extremely high maintenance cats.



Global Perspectives on Mesothelioma

Laurie Kazan-Allen
The International Ban Asbestos Secretariat

Ms. Laurie Kazan-Allen has been researching, writing and campaigning on asbestos issues for more than twenty years. The British Asbestos Newsletter, the quarterly publication she founded in 1990, is widely regarded as one of the most authoritative contemporary sources of information by the UK community of asbestos activists. In collaboration with international colleagues, in 1999 she established The International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS). As the IBAS Coordinator she has organized and/or participated in asbestos events on six continents, amongst the most recent of which was the 2011 meeting in India of the Asian Ban Asbestos Network and the 2011 seminar: “Asbestos-Still a Killer” in the European Parliament. As an adviser to the UK All Party Parliamentary Asbestos Sub-Group, Ms. Kazan-Allen helps organize the annual Parliamentary asbestos seminar. Kazan-Allen has written prolifically about asbestos issues in 80+ issues of the British Asbestos Newsletter and in IBAS publications such as Eternit and the Great Asbestos Trial, Report on the Asian Asbestos Conference 2009, India’s Asbestos Time Bomb and Killing the Future – Asbestos Use in Asia. These and other texts can be accessed on the websites: www.britishasbestosnewsletter.org and www.ibasecretariat.org On March 25, 2012, Ms. Kazan-Allen became the first non-Australian to receive the prestigious Emeritus Professor Eric G. Saint Memorial Award at a ceremony held in Perth, Western Australia.

Jessica Barker
Director of Government Affairs, Meso Foundation

Jessica Barker is the Director of Government Affairs for the Meso Foundation, working with meso advocates to raise awareness and advance the cause of mesothelioma with our lawmakers. In this capacity, her primary objectives are to raise awareness of mesothelioma and increase federal funding for mesothelioma research. Prior to joining the Meso Foundation staff, Jessica worked with the American Network of Community Options and Resources and the National Association of State Units on Aging and Disability on long term care issues, including Medicaid and Medicare. She also led the legislative and communications efforts at the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health. Jessica holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.



The Road Ahead

Rev. George P Winchester, S.J.
Associate Chaplain, Brigham and  Women's Hospital

Rev. George P Winchester, S.J. is a member of the Society of Jesus of New England, a Jesuit priest and Associate Chaplain at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.  He has been a dedicated chaplain for Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones for over 5 years, since the beginning of the patient support program. He has also served as part of the inter-faith chaplaincy program for the hospital since June 1992.  He was ordained a priest in 1965 and would describe his ministry as a call to "hatch, match and dispatch" in service of others whatever their need. At the end of July he will celebrate 60 years as Jesuit.


Donor Reception - July 11, 2012

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP): What it's all about?

Progress in Mesothelioma Research

Demystifying Scientific Breakthroughs

Survivorship: living with and beyond cancer

Legal Panel 2012

Gala Celebration of Hope | 2012 Symposium

Moving Forward - How the Meso Foundation Expands Its Reach Through Research and Support

A life well lived by Hanne Mintz

How to craft the next chapter in your life after major loss

Easing Pain for Patients with Malignant Mesothelioma

Introduction - Volunteer Fundraising

Volunteer Fundraising

Raising Awareness Through Social Media

Global Perspectives on Mesothelioma

The Road Ahead