In November, a CELEBRATION OF LIFE AND HOPE was held in Stoneham, Massachusetts in remembrance of Cal Sr., Cal Jr., Debbie and Betty Bowker. The Bowker Family lost Cal Sr., Cal Jr. and Betty to pancreatic cancer, and Debbie to breast cancer. WINGS OF HOPE board member Kathryn Bowker Haber and her brother George Bowker, organized the event to celebrate the lives of their family members and raise awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer research. All proceeds from the event went to WINGS OF HOPE to fund the pancreatic cancer research ongoing at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. For the unfathomable losses they have sustained and their continual support of this effort, our heartfelt thanks to the Bowker Family and all those who participated in this special event.
In late October WINGS OF HOPE presented a special one-night only presentation of the SR-71 BLACKBIRD SPY PILOT CHRONICLES at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Wichita, Kansas. SR-71 pilot BRIAN SHUL and navigator WALTER WATSON enthralled the crowd with their experiences as an SR-71 crew, as chronicled in their book, The Untouchables.
The special event was held in memory of GAYLE JOHNSON, KEN LERMAN and PETE REYNOLDS, all well known friends in Wichita who, in 2014, all succumbed to pancreatic cancer within months of one another.
The evening helped raise awareness and much needed funding for pancreatic cancer research.
Sincere thanks to the Johnson, Reynolds and Lerman families, and all those in Wichita whose outpouring of generous support is helping to make a difference in this effort.
Photography by Mark Cassell
Maureen Shul’s philosophy says it all: “Life is too short to stay in the shallow end.”
It’s hard-won wisdom that’s now bringing new, life-giving possibilities to Rocky Mountain residents facing pancreatic cancer. Having lost both her brother and mother to the disease in a short span of time, Maureen launched Wings of Hope to raise funds for pancreatic research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Since its founding in 2012, the nonprofit organization has raised nearly a half-million dollars to help find answers and treatments. Every cent has gone to research.
“When my brother was diagnosed with the disease,” Maureen begins, “I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. He had the Whipple surgery (removal of the head of the pancreas, as well as the gall bladder and part of the small intestine) right away, and we thought he had made it. Then four years later, it returned. Just a couple months after his death, my mother was diagnosed. Neither smoked nor drank — so we couldn’t understand why them?”
But as Maureen learned when she began her investigation, that’s how it is for many families. “There is no early diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer,” she notes, “and the incidence is rising rapidly.” The survival rate is just six percent.
“To lose two of the people you love most in such a short time changes your world, perspective and priorities,” she continues. Transitioning from serving as first mayor of the City of Castle Pines and with no prior knowledge of starting a nonprofit, Maureen put her determination in motion to make a difference in pancreatic cancer outcomes.
“It was very important to me that the money we raised through our Wings of Hope events stayed here in Colorado,” she emphasizes. “The pancreatic cancer research being conducted at the CU Cancer Center is world-class, and Anschutz Medical Campus is a game-changer. We have a destination medical resource right here.”
Maureen was introduced to the The Denver Hospice when her close friend Linda Goto—a loyal MASK project supporter—was an inpatient several years ago. The dark blue mask she’s created for this year’s event unites the Wings of Hope logo and those of a butterfly. “It symbolizes my belief that even the hardest parts of our lives can be transformed into something life-affirming, even though it may last for a very short time.”
“I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned from my family’s experience with pancreatic cancer is how short life is. If we’re not doing what brings us inner peace, passion and purpose, why not?”
Earlier this year WINGS OF HOPE founder Maureen Shul and board member Courtney Walsh participated in the Brent's Place expansion ground breaking ceremonies. The nonprofit, located adjacent to Anschutz Medical Campus, specializes in providing housing to children with compromised immune systems and their families while they get treatment. It is estimated that 40% of the families seeking their specialized assistance are helped. While the demand may never be fully met, the new apartments scheduled to open in mid-2017 will fill a need for the young patients and their families in need of this assistance. Brent's Place was founded by Donn and Linda Eley after losing their son, Brent, to cancer.
On a picture perfect Saturday morning, 140 golfers met to play in the 5th Annual Shane Lee Golf Tournament at Mariana Butte Golf Course in Loveland, Colorado. Held in partnership with WINGS OF HOPE, the tournament is in memory of beloved Shane Lee who lost his battle to pancreatic cancer in 2011. All proceeds go toward raising awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
"AN EVENING OF HOPE WITH JACK ANDRAKA" was held June 18, 2016 at Anschutz Medical Campus.
Teenage cancer researcher Jack Andraka shared how at 15, he discovered an early diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer. Driven and motivated by the death of a close family friend, Jack's story of using Google to learn all he could about the pancreas, getting 199 rejections for lab use before one doctor gave him that opportunity and the eventual discovery that came about as a result of his own genius and tenacity, touched and inspired everyone in attendance.
Gary Corbett, serving as emcee as well as auctioneer, added warmth and humor to the evening in his own unique and entertaining way. Speakers included WINGS OF HOPE founder Maureen Shul, Dr. Colin Weekes, Dr. Richard Schulick and Dr. Tom Purcell.
Special thanks to sponsors of the event: The John W. Buffington Family, Aircraft Performance Group, Centennial Airport, The Comerford Family, Paula Sandoval in memory of Senator Paul Sandoval, Imhoff Ohlson Family Fund, 1010 Global, The Shul Family, The Canyons, Washington Park Chiropractic, David Yurman of Cherry Creek, Crystal Hodge / Sotheby's, The Bowker Haber Families and Merrimack.
THANK YOU to everyone who attended this special event, bid on the auction items, made donations and purchased Jack's book. Your support of WINGS OF HOPE directly funds the pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
(All photos by Liquid Luck Productions)
Thank you to all the participants, sponsors, volunteers and Washington Park Chiropractic for making this another incredibly successful and enjoyable event - all to raise awareness and funding for the pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
WINGS OF HOPE presented the SR-71 BLACKBIRD SPY PILOT CHRONICLES in Grand Junction, coinciding with the Grand Junction Air Show that weekend featuring the USAF Thunderbirds. On a picture perfect weekend, WINGS OF HOPE founder MAUREEN SHUL, pancreatic cancer survivor and WOH board member JIM COMERFORD and SR-71 pilot BRIAN SHUL met and talked with many at the air show about the urgent effort to find early diagnostic methods, more effective treatments and ultimately a cure through funding the pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
Main sponsors of the event were St. Mary's Medical Center and the Comerford Family, as well as Bray Real Estate, General Surgeons of Western Colorado and the Shul Family. Speakers at the Avalon Theater event included JIM COMERFORD and MAUREEN SHUL, sharing their involvement and commitment to this effort. Dr. ERIC HANLY and Dr. MARTY JACOBSON shared what is taking place at St. Mary's Cancer Center on pancreatic cancer treatments and the collaboration and need for more awareness on their relationship with the University of Colorado Cancer Center. SR-71 pilot BRIAN SHUL enthralled the packed audience with his experience flying the world's highest and fastest flying jet. Artist, author and pancreatic cancer survivor ARTURO GARCIA donated an original painting of the SR-71 which went to a generous and excited donor.
Sincere thanks to everyone who helped make this event one of the best yet!
On June 2nd, 2015 the first annual Kingsbury Open was held at Golf Club at Bear Dance in Larkspur, Colorado, hosted by Washington Park Chiropractic in partnership with WINGS OF HOPE FOR PANCREATIC CANCER RESEARCH. Over $15,000 was raised for the pancreatic cancer research ongoing at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. In September 2015 Dr. Lisa Goodman and Kelsey Schwab from Washington Park Chiropractic were invited to the CU Cancer Center to meet some of those involved in the pancreatic cancer research and to present the proceeds from the golf tournament. During their visit they were invited to tour the labs, watch live pancreatic cancer cells on a microscope and see exactly where the money raised from the Kingsbury Open goes to. They also got a peak at the state of the art Roche LightCycler machine that the lab was able to purchase through the funding received from WINGS OF HOPE.
Dr. Colin Weekes, Maureen Shul, Dr. Lisa Goodman, Kelsey Schwab, Rebecca Ferguson and Mark Kochevar
WINGS OF HOPE was again proud partner of the 4th annual Shane Lee Memorial Golf Tournament held on a spectacular Saturday morning at Marina Butte Golf Course in Loveland. Over 130 golfers played in memory of Shane Lee, who lost his fight with pancreatic cancer in 2011. Loved and admired by his coworkers at Noble Energy, the tournament was established in Shane's memory to raise funding for the pancreatic cancer research ongoing at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Anschutz Medical Campus.
Story and photos by Danielle Corriveau
SR-71 “Blackbird” pilot Brian Shul and navigator Walter Watson took guests of the 4th annual Wings of Hope benefit on a riveting ride. The duo detailed their covert spy plane missions and shared about the unbelievable individual journey each one took to soar in the world’s fastest flying jet. Brain Shul also signed copies of his award-winning books “Sled Driver” and “The Untouchables.”
Prior to the headline presentation, City of Castle Pines Founding Mayor and Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research Founder Maureen Shul gracefully and poetically shared her story of launching the organization. In 2012, she lost both her brother and mother to pancreatic cancer. She channeled her grief into providing hope. In its first year, Wings of Hope raised $45,000, which doubled the following year to $90,000. In 2013, Wings of Hope entered into a formal partnership with the University of Colorado Cancer Center. As a result, Wings of Hope efforts became focused on raising awareness and funding for the pancreatic cancer research ongoing at the CU Cancer Center. In 2015, Wings of Hope established the first endowment for pancreatic cancer research at the CU Cancer Center and is on track to raise $250,000 for CU’s pancreatic cancer research.
“What starts as a single cell gone awry takes monumental effort to fight,” shared Maureen. That effort needs increase as pancreatic cancer, currently the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths, is on track to move to number two within the next five years.
She was followed by Dr. Lisa Goodman, who relayed how her medical training helped her advocate for her father to get tested further for his back pain, an act which ultimately revealed he had pancreatic cancer. She channeled her grief into organizing a golf tournament in her father’s honor and brightly shared that it raised $20,000. The funds are going to help Wings of Hope in its mission to fund ongoing pancreatic cancer research.
“I’m excited to partner with Wings of Hope,” said a smiling Dr. Goodman. “It’s an honor to work with Maureen.”
Elias Gebru, originally from Africa, spoke beautifully about his journey of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and despite not having his own family here, had family through Wings of Hope. People, such as Dr. Purcell, helped him navigate his treatment and balance his living situation.
Dr. Jill Pechacek came to the podium with five guiding words. The first was Dream. Since she was 4, she dreamed of being a physician. At 26, months away from realizing that dream, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She went through treatment while finishing medical school. She elected not to have surgery so she had a shot at her next dream: Motherhood. With palpable pride, she shared she is the mother of three and pointed out her children sitting in the second row. She gave Faith as her third word. She now has a new challenge and needs faith and strength to say each day “Not ‘Why me,’ but instead ‘Chose me, Use me so I may do some good and help others today.’” She’s strong in her faith as, at age 46, she was diagnosed with stage-4 pancreatic cancer.
“I tell every doctor ‘I need 10.’ They don’t understand and I say ‘I need 10 years so I can see my children graduate from high school,’ ” shared Dr. Pechacek.
She added Grateful and Give to her list, relaying that she is grateful for every moment, especially those with her children and encouraged the audience to give supporting words, volunteer time and contribute their resources.
“If you can give someone the words ‘I believe in You’ you will be giving powerfully. Those words fuel my faith and fill my spirit.”
A silent slide show closed the opening segment of the program. With the same grace in which all the messaging was delivered, the last slide read “Heartfully. Hopefully. Honestly. Thank You.” These simple words of truth conveyed the deep appreciation Wings of Hope has for its supporters. Yet, the one who wrote them, Maureen Shul, is the one most deserving of them.
Lorraine Bell and Richard Hogen are proud to
support Wings of Hope
Pancreatic survivor artist Arturo Garcia is proud to share his work to help Wings of Hope
Dennyse and Erika Tejeda show off Arturo
Arturo Garcia painted the SR-71 for the
Enticing aviation-oriented silent auction items
Marty Dickerson, left, smiles with Doug Fox and Courtney Walsh
An amazing crew of speakers: Brian Shul, left, Maureen Shul and Walter Watson
James Taylor, left, smiles with Rogers Hemphill
A super evening for Wings of Hope superstars
Gene Gillette, left, and Diane Azlant are proud to support Wings of Hope
James Huffman, left, takes time for a photo with Rogers Hemphill
Paul Squyer, left, smiles with Walter Watson and Bill Mason
It’s a fun night out for Dani Rush, left, Daisy Urso, Jim Urso and Arturo Garcia
Great smiles by Dr. Jace Buzek, left, Jackie Buzek, Joe Goodman, Dr. Lisa Goodman and Kelsey Schwab
Marty Dickerson, left, with friend Bonnie Winters-Collins
Jody and Lisa Eklund enjoy time before the presentation
Judy Ginter catches up with Bob Beabout before the program
John Scott, left, takes time for a photo with Master Sargent, USAF Don Hinson
T-shirts commemorating the event
Dave Schmidt, left, and Russ Broshous are honored to be a part of Wings of Hope
Milt and Jan Ferry enjoy the evening
Larry Hofmann and Carrie McKee relax before the evening’s program
Warm smiles from Norma and Ray Hendry
Pastor Dave Jensen, left, smiles with Debbie Coppola, Chip Coppola and Carol Ciluffo
The girls together: Carmel Scopelliti, left, Stacy Ohlsson and Karen Hinkel
Cathy Schwartz, left, join Carmel Scopelliti, Stacy Ohlsson and Karen Hinkel for a photo
Marge Tepper, left, with friends Judy Dearasaugh and Judy Kleiner
David Crist, left, smiles with Bev Groth and Betty Dysart
Jennifer and David Novinger are happy to support Wings of Hope
Service with a smile: volunteers welcome guests at registration
A fun group: Janelle Chavez, front, Andrea Ludwig, left, Tom Rosenkrans, Kaylar Neumann, Eric and Lauren Ross
Dad Peter shared the evening with his son David Jones
Jo Ann McKie, left, catches up with Nancy Bohlen
Laughing the night away: Lisa Brodin, left, Tim Butler, Marc Frank and Brenda Butler
Longtime friends: Max Barber, left, and Courtney Walsh
Daughter-Mother Duo: Melany and Max Barber
Brothers’ Night Out: Lucas, left, and Zach Zahorik
Warm smiles from Scott and Melissa Drexler
Ola and Stuart Butler are proud to support Wings of Hope
Aviation-oriented silent auction items
Mike and Teri Hulett take time for a photo
Father-son Night Out: Ben and Benjamin Bohannon
Larry Johnson, left, takes a moment for a photo with Chip Martin
Lovely smiles from Angel Tuccy, left, and Sue Kenfield
Carmel Scopelliti, left, with friends Jeff Cain and Stacy Ohlsson
Inspiring survivors: Dr. Jill Pechacek, left, and Elias Gebru
Wings of Hope Trio: Maureen Shul, left, Dr. Jill Pechacek and Elias Gebru
Ron and Valerie Fitzpatrick get a photo with the evening’s speaker Walter Watson
Walter Watson, left, and Brian Shul take a photo with Robert and Marilyn Olislagers
Team Hause: Chuck, left, Andrea, Laura and Mike Hause
Diane Shea and Bert Goins are proud to be a part of Wings of Hope
Happy smiles from Vicky Levin, left, and Maxine McDonald
Becca Brodin, left, smiles with Lisa Brodin
Team Brodin: Lisa, left, Becca and Bob Brodin
A full house at the Lone Tree Arts Center
John Brackney takes the stage
Maureen Shul shares her story with captive listeners
Dr. Lisa Goodman shares about her dad’s experience with pancreatic cancer
Gabru Elias speaks about his “family” of supporters in the United States as he battles cancer
Mark Kochevar informs the audience about the amazing work of the CU Cancer Center
WINGS OF HOPE hosts its 2nd annual evening of painting and sipping (wine) for pancreatic cancer patients and their families at Sipping n' Painting Hampden.
The annual KNOCK OUT CANCER GALA was held at the Denver Hyatt Regency with Denver-based band The Fray wowing the packed crowd. Co-chaired by Nancy and Philip Anschutz, Mary and Bruce Benson, Maureen and John Harney and Marcia and Dick Robinson, the event is to benefit the University of Colorado Cancer Center, the only NCI-designated cancer center within an 800 mile radius.
The 3rd Annual WINGS OF HOPE BENEFIT was held at The Wildlife Experience with keynote speaker ERIC ALEXANDER, recounting his historic climb to the top of Mt. Everest. Emcee JOHN BRACKNEY introduced WINGS OF HOPE founder MAUREEN SHUL, who, in her remarks, announced the establishment of the first endowment at the CU Cancer Center for pancreatic cancer research by WINGS OF HOPE. Dr. COLIN WEEKES shared with the sellout audience how the $45,000 received by the CU Cancer Center after last year's event was used, and the current research projects taking place. KELLEY GLEASON, KATHRYN HABER and JIM COMERFORD shared their personal experiences with pancreatic cancer that touched every person in the audience. A WINGS OF HOPE video was shown that highlighted MELANIE AVNER'S personal account of how pancreatic cancer impacted her life, as well as local author and artist ARTURO GARCIA, a pancreatic cancer survivor. Arturo Garcia's artwork was not only on display and for sale before and after the event, he also generously donated one of his more popular paintings, "Broncos," for the live auction. GARY CORBETT brought his own unique energy as auctioneer and had the crowd thoroughly entertained and giving generously to the WINGS OF HOPE efforts.
Heartfelt thanks to our generous sponsors, attendees, donors, speakers, auctioneer and volunteers who made the evening so profoundly meaningful and successful.
Special thanks to photographer LYNN ZAHORIK for the following photos.
On February 9, WINGS OF HOPE proudly hosted an evening of painting and fun for CU Cancer Center Anschutz Medical Campus patients, their families and friends at "Sipping N' Painting Hampden." With no artistic abilities required, all enjoyed the learning process of creating their own masterpiece amidst the camaraderie of one another.
Special thanks to "Sipping N' Painting Hampden" owner Kelly Doak for helping to make the evening so enjoyable and memorable for every one.
The newly opened CU Lone Tree Clinic was the setting for the January 30th CU Cancer Center presentation on pancreatic cancer.
Those who braved the winter conditions heard first hand the latest research and treatment updates from CU Cancer Center physicians at the forefront of pancreatic cancer, including Dr. Wells Messersmith and Dr. Barish Edil. Dr. Colin Weekes provided an overview of the current research taking place at the CU Cancer Center, explaining specifically how the donations received from WINGS OF HOPE FOR PANCREATIC CANCER RESEARCH are making a difference in moving the research forward. But it was Dr. David Raben's impassioned remarks that provided the irrefutable evidence for CU Cancer Center being the leading medical institution nationwide in pancreatic cancer research and treatment.
Maureen Shul, founder of WINGS OF HOPE, also spoke on the reasons WINGS OF HOPE was formed, and its dedicated efforts to raising awareness and funding for the pancreatic cancer research ongoing at the CU Cancer Center.
In the audience were several pancreatic cancer survivors and patients, sharing their experiences and expressing gratitude for the tremendous care and treatment they received at the CU Cancer Center. Also in attendance were Dr. Eamon Berge, Dr. Chris Lieu, and Allison Krebs, Director of Development at the CU Cancer Center.
10/15/13 - Thank you to everyone who attended the October 15th Colorado Avalanche game on behalf of WINGS OF HOPE. More than the Avalanche advancing to 6-0, your participation directly benefits the pancreatic research programs ongoing at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
The July 26th presentation, attended by board members and supporters of WINGS OF HOPE, as well as UCCC staff, included Dr. Colin Weekes providing an update on the latest developments in pancreatic cancer research. The WINGS OF HOPE donation will be used to support a human-patient derived xenograft model to help determine the genetic characteristics of a patient's tumor and to develop molecular-based therapeutic strategies encompassing biomarker development.
WINGS OF HOPE founder Maureen Shul expressed gratitude to all those who made the donation possible through their generous support of the foundation and made it known that plans are underway for upcoming events.
For more pictures, click on NEWS.
BLACKTIE COLORADO COVERS WINGS OF HOPE APRIL 25th EVENT: click on this link....
Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research past event.
The first WINGS OF HOPE benefit took place October 22nd, 2011 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. The event, organized by former Castle Pines Mayor Maureen Shul and sponsored by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, was to help raise awareness and research funding for pancreatic cancer.
Featured speaker at the aviation-themed gala was Maureen's brother, SR-71 Pilot Brian Shul, author of the acclaimed "Sled Driver." Brian shared his inspiring story of being shot down in Vietnam, hospitalized for injuries sustained for nearly two years, only to come back to pilot the top-secret Blackbird, the world's fastest and highest flying aircraft ever built.
Maureen Shul organized the WINGS OF HOPE benefit in honor of her mother and brother, Victor, both of whom died of pancreatic cancer.
It was just months after losing her brother that Maureen's mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, this in addition to the Alzheimer's disease she had been diagnosed with eight years earlier. Blanche Shul passed away from pancreatic cancer three months after being diagnosed, never aware that her son had succumbed to the disease months earlier.
Propelled by grief and a desire to honor her brother and mother, Maureen's goal for WINGS OF HOPE was to help raise awareness and research dollars for pancreatic cancer. "My family was stunned as to how little there was in the way of early diagnostic testing for pancreatic cancer," Shul states. "Just as shocking, the five-year survival rate has remained at just six percent for the last 40 years." Despite no early detection tools, no effective treatments and no cure, just two percent of the National Cancer Institute's federal research funding is allocated to pancreatic cancer.
"My desire is that WINGS OF HOPE will raise awareness as well as research funding to mount a viable assault on the disease," Shul states. "When you suffer through losses this profound you are compelled to do something to honor your loved ones in ways that will hopefully result in more awareness and resources to help the many others whose lives have been or will be impacted by this horrific disease."
JOIN THE EFFORT…BE A PART OF THE POSSIBLE, BE THE HOPE.