#ThrowbackThursday: The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation Awards Research Funding

November 20, 2019
Exactly one year ago today, on November 21, 2018, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation awarded a grant for esophageal cancer research!  This was the second research project funded in less than seven years since the charity was founded in 2011.
The research funding was awarded to Dr. Donald Low at Virginia Mason Medical Center with Dr. George Hanna of St Mary’s Hospital (Imperial College London) as co-investigator.  Their research, which is currently underway, intends to establish a non-invasive test for the detection of esophageal cancer that is based upon the unique signature of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within exhaled breath and to analyze exhaled VOCs in response to therapeutic intervention in patients.

Esophageal cancer is considered one of the fastest growing and deadliest cancers in the United States and western world.  Esophageal cancer has increased over 700% in the past three decades and has an overall 5 year survival rate of only 19.2%.  There are no routine or standard screenings to improve early detection of esophageal cancer and symptoms often arise late, once the cancer is considered advanced or “distant” (spread to lymph nodes and other organs.) Stage IV esophageal cancer has a survival rate of only 4.8%.  Despite all of these facts, csophageal cancer research critically underfunded

Donate today to help change these statistics and fund more worthy projects!  SALGI.org/donate

Dr. Donald Low, Virginia Mason

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GERD Awareness Week: November 24-30, 2019

November 13, 2019

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Mashed or sweet potatoes, stuffing, the turkey, or vegetables?  Did you know that the week of Thanksgiving is also dedicated to bringing awareness to a growing disease which affects roughly 20% of Americans?

That disease is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Also known as acid reflux disease, GERD is a condition of the digestive system, which has increased significantly in recent decades.  GERD is also a primary risk factor for esophageal cancer, one of the fastest growing and deadliest cancers in the United States. Esophageal cancer, like GERD, has also increased significantly in past decades. In fact, incidence of esophageal cancer has risen over 733% in the past four decades and only an overall five-year survival rate of less than 19.2%.

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, a nonprofit which has funded two grants for esophageal cancer research, one in July, 2015 and another in November, 2018, is working once again to bring awareness of the dangerous link between GERD and esophageal cancer.  The Salgi Foundation, a Rhode Island based nonprofit with chapters in St. Louis, Missouri, Colorado and Brooklyn, New York has recently been named a “2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit” by GreatNonprofits.  This award was based from online reviews of supporters who, for some, have first-hand experience of the dangers of acid reflux disease and its most common symptom: chronic heartburn.

Heartburn does not typically cause major concern, as billions of Americans experience it at some point in their lives. However, persistent heartburn, which occurs two or more times a week, should not be taken lightly, as it could be a symptom of the disease.

President of The Salgi Foundation, Linda Molfesi, said, “my father suffered from chronic heartburn for years and was never warned by doctors of the possible risks. We found out too late, once he started having difficulty swallowing, that his chronic reflux had led to esophageal cancer.” Molfesi continued, “My father passed away a little over a year after he was diagnosed and it was, and still is, devastating.”

Unfortunately, esophageal cancer has few, if any, early symptoms. Symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, chronic cough or hoarseness, food getting stuck or choking while eating often occur once the cancer has spread and reaches an advanced stage. To make matters even worse, there are currently no routine or standard screenings to detect esophageal cancer in earlier stages.   The foundation is hoping to help change that, awarding $62,597 to researchers at Virginia Mason Medical Center who are currently developing a breath test for detecting esophageal cancer earlier.

Molfesi encourages those who suffer from reflux to be proactive about their health, stating “never ignore frequent heartburn and never rely on medications alone. Talk to your doctor about all of your options, especially how you can get screened for any possible damage.”

 

 

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to raise awareness, encourage early detection and to fund research of esophageal cancer in hopes of a cure.™  The charity has hosted events in Rhode Island, Missouri, Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, New York City, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maine, New Jersey and Illinois, with additional locations currently in the planning stages. These events gave rise to chapters in St. Louis, Missouri; Arvada, Colorado and Brooklyn, New York.  For more information, please visit: www.salgi.org

 

 

Learn the Facts About Esophageal Cancer:

 

  • No standard or routine screening to detect cancer in earlier stages
  • One of the fastest growing and deadliest cancers in the US and western world
  • Symptoms often arise once the cancer has spread
  • Research receives low government and/or private funding
  • In 2019, estimated 17,650 diagnoses and 16,080 deaths from the cancer.
  • Overall five-year survival rate of less than 19.2%.
  • Stage IV has a survival rate of only 4.8%.

 

 

 

Esophageal Cancer Risk Factors:

 

  • Acid reflux disease-GERD (chronic heartburn)
  • Obesity/overweight
  • Poor nutrition
  • Heavy drinking
  • Tobacco use
  • Barrett’s esophagus

 

 

Common Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer:

 

  • Painful/difficulty swallowing
  • Food getting stuck
  • Weight loss
  • Hoarseness or cough
  • Indigestion/heartburn
  • Pain behind breastbone or pain in back

 

 

For more information, please visit: SALGI.org/gerd


Fundraising Update: Running For Maki

November 6, 2019

On Sunday, November 3, 2019, Daniel ran his very first marathon, The New York City Marathon, in memory of his mother-in-law, Makiko Moni, who passed away from esophageal cancer.

Daniel created an online fundraising page to honor his mother-in-law and to raise awareness of esophageal cancer and funding for research.  The fundraiser “Running for Maki” has been a great success, with Daniel raising over $6,700 (and counting)!

Daniel also finished the race in 4:41 time and said that “knowing I was running on behalf of my mother-in-law, all of the donors and Salgi really kept me going, especially late in the race.”  Makiko passed away from esophageal cancer earlier this year (2019).

We are honored to carry out this mission in Makiko’s memory and are extremely appreciative to Daniel and all who supported his fundraiser.  To check out his campaign, click here.

Visit our Facebook page to view more photos from race day! Click here

Learn the facts: Esophageal cancer is considered one of the fastest growing and deadliest cancer in the United States and western world.  Esophageal cancer has increased over 700% in the past three decades and has an overall 5 year survival rate of only 19.2%.

There are no routine or standard screenings to improve early detection of esophageal cancer and symptoms often arise late, once the cancer is considered advanced or “distant” (spread to lymph nodes and other organs.) Stage IV esophageal cancer has a survival rate of only 4.8%.

Despite these facts, esophageal cancer research is extremely underfunded.  In 2015, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation awarded esophageal cancer research funding for the very first time. Then, in November, 2018, we have once again awarded funding for esophageal cancer research. Both grants were given in honor of all the men and women affected by esophageal cancer.

If you would like to create a fundraiser, please visit: charity.gofundme.com/esophagealcancer

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The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation Named “2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit” by GreatNonprofits

November 2, 2019

Thanks to our wonderful supporters, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation has been named one of the first winners of a 2019 Top-Rated Award from GreatNonprofits!

We appreciate everyone who took the time to add a review! Read inspiring stories about us and add your own review. Click here: greatnonprofits.org/org/salgi-esophageal-cancer-research-foundation

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is proud of our accomplishments within the past several years, including awarding esophageal cancer research grants in both 2015 and in 2018; twice in less than seven years since our charity was founded.

With the help of our supporters and donors, we have also raised raise awareness, advocated for early detection and hosted esophageal cancer awareness events in Rhode Island, Missouri, Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, New York City, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maine, New Jersey and Illinois, with additional locations currently in the planning stages. These events gave rise to chapters in St. Louis, Missouri; Arvada, Colorado and Brooklyn, New York.

The Top-Rated Nonprofit Award is the based on the rating and number of reviews The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation received from volunteers, donors and supporters. “Salgi is a charity dedicated to the cure of a horrible disease. The group promotes awareness in an informative and professional manner Salgi is run by dedicated and caring people,” one supporter posted.

“The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is a great example of a nonprofit making a real difference in their community,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, “Their award is well-deserved recognition not only of their work, but the tremendous support they receive, as shown by the many outstanding reviews they have received from people who have direct experience working with The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation.”

GreatNonprofits is the leading website where people share stories about their personal experiences on more than 1.6 million charities and nonprofits. The GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Awards are the only awards for nonprofits determined by those who have direct experience with the charities – as donors, volunteers and recipients of aid.

The complete list of 2019 Top Rated Nonprofits can be found at: https://greatnonprofits.org/awards/browse/Campaign:Year2019/Issue:All/Page:1

To read The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation’s reviews, and to post your own, visit: greatnonprofits.org/org/salgi-esophageal-cancer-research-foundation

 

 

 

 

 

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Survivor Story: Ignored Warning Signs Eventually Leads to Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis

November 2, 2019

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is honored to share the following story of Todd C, an esophageal cancer survivor, whose story is very similar to many others who have been diagnosed.

For many, what seems to be irritating yet seemingly insignificant symptoms of recurrent indigestion, heartburn, burning in chest, difficulty eating or swallowing, etcetera are really warning signs of esophageal cancer.   If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms or may have one or more risk factors, please speak to your doctor about a referral to a gastroenterologist for screening.

We are very grateful to Todd for sharing his story and we hope that his story will not only help in our quest to raise awareness of esophageal cancer, the critical importance of earliest possible detection but it will also offer hope for those who are experiencing a diagnosis for themselves or for a loved one.

While esophageal cancer does often highlight poor statistics attributed to it due to low survival rates, we are always inspired to share stories of survivorship as testament to the fact that esophageal cancer can be beat.  With awareness, early detection and research, our charity is working to not only improve survival rates, but to make esophageal cancer history.

Thank you, Todd for sharing your story!

 

Todd C., Survivor, Diagnosed in October 1988:

“Every year about this time I find myself in awe that I have been blessed with another year. You see it was the first week of October 1998 that I was diagnosed with Stage III esophageal cancer.

Really, I had few symptoms, a little indigestion, nothing exceptional. Sometimes when I would eat there would be pain directly behind my breastbone when I would swallow, but it would be fleeting and manageable. My wife upon a visit to our family doctor with one of our children, mentioned my symptoms to our doctor who advised her that I should get scoped. When she shared this with me, I of course blew it off as nothing and didn’t think any more about it.

A month or so passed, one day I received a call from our family doctor asking me if I had made an appointment to get scoped yet, I replied that I had not. He encouraged me to do so, and to do it sooner rather than later. I remember hanging up the phone and thinking that it was quite odd to get a call from our doctor, he really wasn’t an alarmist and I didn’t really have that close of a relationship with him. Still, I ignored his advice.

One day while walking into work I was eating a banana while crossing the parking lot. I took a bite, chewed and swallowed, stopping me immediately in my tracks. I couldn’t breathe in or out, and it felt as if someone had stuck a knife in my chest. I waited slightly hunched over for the pain to ease and to be able to take a breath again, and as in the past, this did occur, and I went on about my day thinking that it was going to be a rough one. Again, I chose to ignore the warning sign.

I was 6’2” and weighed roughly 240 lbs. solid, an ole farm boy. I loved to work, and I loved to eat, but for some reason I found myself changing my diet, almost without even realizing it until I had lost about 30 pounds in a one-month period.  I found myself down to about 210 lbs. and told everyone around me how easy it was to lose weight.  Why I had simply made a few changes in my diet and look, I dropped 30 pounds in a month.

It was at that point that I started to put all the pieces together, the pain, the heartburn, my doctors concern to a point where he contacted me, the unintentional diet change, and of course the weight loss. I decided it was time to get checked. It had been about 4 months since my wife had made the initial statement to our family doctor about my symptoms.

I was referred to a wonderful gastrointestinal doctor and on the day of my scope I asked him what exactly we were going to do. He explained the procedure and added that he really didn’t expect to see anything alarming, but if he did, he might biopsy it. Upon completing the scope he told me that I had some irritation and bleeding in my esophagus right at the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) where the stomach and esophagus come together, and because of that he did take some biopsies, but did not expect them to be anything.

Three days after my scope, I received a call at work from my doctor. He explained that he had received the report on my biopsies and that it came back “suspicious”. I asked suspicious of what and he stated that I had cancer. I asked what I needed to do. He said I would need at minimum a surgery and I told him that he was a surgeon and I liked him so okay.

His reply was NO. I said “oh, you don’t do that kind of surgery”, and he assured me that he did, but he would not do mine. I asked why, and he told me that at 36 years old I needed the best of the best and he was not it. He went on to inform me that there were doctors in the area that would do it, but not to let them. Obviously at this point I realized the gravity of my condition.

I ended up at case Western University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio in the hands of some wonderful doctors, Dr. John Murphy, now retired, Dr. Judy Clayman now retired, and Dr. Amitah Chak, still there and an absolutely fantastic individual.

I completed 5 weeks of radiation, a Gastroesophagectomy via Ivors-Lewis pull up method, followed by 6 months of chemotherapy with Cisplatin and 5FU. I had 5 lymph nodes in my chest that were removed, come back positive, but no (metastasis) METs to any other organs.

There are many, many details, concerns, scares, etc. along the journey that I began in that first week in October of 1998. But I am here, I am healthy, I live a very, very full life. I work at my job 50+ hours a week. I have horses, and donkeys, and other livestock that I care for at home. My wife and I enjoy travelling and life is good.

There are still side effects, and life changes that I live with today, but nothing that can’t be managed.

I don’t know why I have been fortunate enough to survive this devastating disease. I have not made the best lifestyle choices along the way every time, but for whatever reason I am good.

A cancer diagnosis, no matter how bleak, is not a death sentence. I am proof of that. I am grateful to have had fantastic doctors, a wonderful wife, and incredible support team.

My fervent hope is that research can come up with the answers and cures to prevent others from having to take the path that I had to go down.”

 

 


 

To read more Personal Stories of Esophageal Cancer, please click here.

Follow The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation on Facebook: Facebook.com/SalgiFoundation

Get your copy of our Free ebook: ‘Esophageal Cancer Survivor Stories.” smashwords.com/books/view/881856

 


Fundraising Spotlight: 4th Annual Brian Blood Memorial Golf Tournament

October 25, 2019
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The 4th Annual Brian Blood Memorial Golf Tournament was held on Friday, October 4, 2019 at Butter Brook Golf Club in Westford, MA.  The annual event is in honor of Brian Blood, who passed away after a short but courageous battle with esophageal cancer.
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Prior to his passing, his family promised him they would hold an annual golf tournament in his honor, with the goal of raising money for esophageal cancer awareness and research.  This year, the tournament raised $12,500!  We are pleased to share that in four years, they have raised a total of $50,000 for esophageal research!
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Thank you to the 132 golfers and 10 volunteers who helped make the day a success. A special thank you to Sponsors: Hillside Construction, NEUCO and Devco.
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The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is honored to fulfill this mission in honor of Mr. Brian Blood and we are so thankful to his family and friends for their hard work, dedication, generosity and support!
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Fundraising Spotlight: Running for Maki

October 18, 2019

For his very first marathon, Daniel will be running in memory of his mother-in-law, Makiko Moni who passed away from esophageal cancer.  Daniel has created an online fundraising page to help raise funding for esophageal cancer research.  With less than one month until race day, we hope you will take a moment to read Daniel’s story, share his campaign and consider supporting his efforts through a donation.   On behalf of The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, we would like to thank Daniel for bringing awareness to esophageal cancer and raising much needed funds for awareness and research!

 

Daniel’s fundraiser:  Running for Maki

As many of you know, we suffered a great tragedy earlier this year with the passing of my mother-in-law, Makiko Monji.  She was so kind, generous, stylish, talented, loving, and full of life – Maki was truly a special person who was beautiful in every way.  We miss her dearly.  Sadly, she was afflicted with a terrible disease, esophageal cancer, that ended her life far too quickly.

On November 3, 2019, I will be running the New York City Marathon, my first marathon.  I have been training hard and I am proudly dedicating my run to Maki’s memory and life.  She was always so supportive of everyone and inspiring to others – I know she will be with me as I run.

I have decided to use this opportunity to raise money for the Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation in Maki’s honor.  Salgi funds research into methods for early detection and treatment of esophageal cancer, which, unfortunately, is a devastating disease that is often caught too late to be effectively treated.  Esophageal cancer is also one of the fasting growing cancers in the world (600% increase in diagnoses over the last 30 years), but is relatively unknown and is lacking in research funding and awareness among the general public.  Please visit salgi.org for more information regarding esophageal cancer awareness, early detection, and research.

Your support would be greatly appreciated – every contribution will help carry me to the finish line and will go towards the fight against esophageal cancer!

Thank you!

PS:  If you want to track me as I run, my bib number is 32610 (use the New York Road Runners app).  I hope to see you out there on race day!

 

Learn the Facts:

Esophageal cancer is considered one of the fastest growing and deadliest cancer in the United States and western world.  Esophageal cancer has increased over 700% in the past three decades and has an overall 5 year survival rate of only 19.2%.  There are no routine or standard screenings to improve early detection of esophageal cancer and symptoms often arise late, once the cancer is considered advanced or “distant” (spread to lymph nodes and other organs.) Stage IV esophageal cancer has a survival rate of only 4.8%.

Despite these facts, esophageal cancer research is extremely underfunded.  In 2015, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation awarded esophageal cancer research funding for the very first time. Then, in November, 2018, we have once again awarded funding for esophageal cancer research. Both grants were given in honor of all the men and women affected by esophageal cancer.

 

Click here to visit Daniel’s fundraiser: Running for Maki or visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/running-for-makiko/danielhittman