Research has shown that people who carry mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (typically associated with breast and ovarian cancer) have a higher risk of several types of cancer, including the rare and deadly pancreatic cancer. While the proportion of specific harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations varies among individual racial and ethnic groups, people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have been proven to have a higher prevalence of mutations in both genes. According to the National Cancer Institute, 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews, both men and women carry a BRCA gene mutation — more than ten times the rate of the general population, significantly increasing their risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
“I had no idea about the increased risk for pancreatic cancer for members of the Jewish community,” says Alan Kosten, Chairman of the Herb Kosten Pancreatic Cancer Charitable Fund and an active member of the Jewish community of faith Memphis, Tennessee. “The Kosten family and the Kosten Foundation have been advocating for greater awareness of pancreatic cancer ever since my brother, Herb, passed away from the disease in 2003. This news is something that really hits home for us and has made us take an even closer look at this disease, not just for ourselves, but for the many members of the Jewish community here in the Mid-South and other areas.”
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths each year and, while it represents only two percent of all cancers, it is responsible for 40 percent of all cancer deaths. What makes pancreatic cancer challenging to treat is that people often do not recognize the symptoms until they are advanced.
Son’s Fundraiser Pays Tribute to Father’s Death to Pancreatic Cancer
Memphis, Tenn., September 20, 2018 – The Third Annual Will James Extravaganza fundraiser, benefiting the Kosten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Support, will take place September 30, 2018, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at All About Bikes on 621 S. Mendenhall Road in Memphis, Tennessee. Last year’s event raised approximately $5,500.
The Will James Extravaganza is free to attend and will include an all-ages bike ride, bounce house, silent auction, and food and refreshments. The Will James Extravaganza was created by Tommy James to honor his father who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in 2015 and to raise funds to help find a cure for the deadly disease.
“We all know someone who has had some form of cancer,” says Tommy James, “My dad passed away on October 1, 2015, from this awful disease. He was my best friend and my hero and this event is my way of paying tribute to his memory. I hope everyone will come out to help us support this cause and help continue the legacy of the greatest man I’ve ever met, my dad.”
Your doctor has diagnosed you with cancer. Your head is swimming with thoughts about treatment, loved ones, setting priorities, finances, and more. If you’re like many cancer patients, you’re likely also feeling isolated because, even though you are surrounded by family and friends, you’re overwhelmed by the feeling that no one understands what you’re going through.
Many cancer patients find that participating in a support group with others who face a similar diagnosis or have gone through similar experiences can provide healing to their emotional and spiritual well-being, which is just as important as good medical care.
“Listening to those brave souls in the support group give their testimonies about pancreatic cancer and what they’ve gone through literally changed my life,” said Larry Frantz, pancreatic cancer patient and member of the Memphis-based Kosten Foundation Support Group for Pancreatic Cancer. “I had given up hope and decided I was going to die when I learned about the Kosten support group. We started going and I realized it’s so much more than just a group talking about death and dying. It’s for the patients as well as their caregivers. It helps everyone. I am so thankful to the Kosten Foundation for starting this support group to provide help for patients who previously had nowhere to turn.”
While the format of every support group is different, the benefits are usually similar. What benefits can you expect to find in a support group? We’ve outlined a few of the most common that participants have shared:
Memphis, Tenn., August 17, 2018 – The Kosten Foundation for pancreatic cancer support recently announced a $300,000 grant to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Team in support of continued research efforts toward finding a cure for pancreatic cancer, the third most deadly form of cancer and the disease that claimed the Kosten Foundation’s namesake, Herb Kosten.
The grant has been designated to support doctoral students, purchase new lab equipment, and support continued research efforts through the Dermon II Family and Herb Kosten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
“Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest diseases and there is currently no cure. Our lab is working towards finding a cure and improving the ability for early detection for pancreatic cancer,” said Subhash Chauhan, UTHSC Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. “This generous donation from the Kosten Foundation will help us bring the best and brightest research students to Memphis and provide them state-of-the-art equipment on which to conduct this important research.”
Since the Kosten Foundation was established in 2003, they have raised close to $2,000,000 in the fight against pancreatic cancer and have provided regular donations to the UTHSC pancreatic cancer research team, including a $200,000 grant in 2016 to establish the Dermon II Family and Herb Kosten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. The organization works hand-in-hand with the UTHSC research team to help educate the general public about pancreatic cancer, the medical advances the research team achieves, and support and advocacy opportunities for those affected by pancreatic cancer.
“Remember, you can make a difference.” – John Walsh, television personality, criminal investigator, human and victim rights advocate, creator of America’s Most Wanted, founder of the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, and originator of numerous pieces of legislation surrounding child protection and missing children.
What is an Advocate?
An advocate is someone who stands up for a person, group, or cause. They may make phones calls or write letters on someone’s behalf, speak in front of a court or agency, or lobby or campaign for an individual or a group. Anyone can be an advocate. From attorneys or social workers to a nonprofit group or a concerned citizen, advocates can be anyone who is committed to championing a cause. No matter the capacity in which an advocate works, however, he or she must have some key characteristics to be effective.
Being passionate about a cause can be an advocate’s most useful trait. Energy and enthusiasm will come through when an advocate is making their case. Also, that passion will help them overcome any obstacles that they may encounter. Decision-makers and organizational leaders recognize passion in advocates and often listen closely when an argument is presented forcefully with compassion and care.
Cancer Patients that are visiting from out of town to receive cancer treatments will be able to focus more on their battle against cancer and worry less about their housing as local nonprofit, The Kosten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Support announced a donation of $15,000 to the American Cancer Society Harrah’s Hope Lodge in Memphis, Tennessee to fund a dedicated guest suite. The suite will be used, free of charge, by any cancer patient and/or their caregivers who travel to Memphis to receive treatment.
“We are very pleased to contribute to Harrah’s Hope Lodge Memphis, an organization that brings great value to adult cancer patients and their families from various cities across the country by providing free temporary lodging in Memphis as they undergo treatment,” said Alan Kosten, Chairman of the Kosten Foundation. “We have met many out of town patients at our free, monthly support group meetings, so we are humbled that we can help out of town patients and their families better focus on their treatments as Harrah’s Hope Lodge Memphis provides a free place to stay.”
With over 1,500 participants, the Kick It 5K Reports Great Success in the Fight to End Pancreatic Center
Cold weather did not deter over 1,500 runners, walkers, volunteers, pancreatic cancer survivors, and supporters as they raised more than $150,000 at the Kosten Foundation’s Eighth Annual Kick It 5K at Shelby Farms Park Conservancy on Sunday, April 8, 2018.
“The 2018 Kosten Foundation Kick It 5K was a tremendous success, “said Alan Kosten, Chairman of the Herb Kosten Pancreatic Cancer Charitable Fund. “We raised over $150,000 with donations still coming in and saw over 1,500 people in the park supporting this wonderful event and cause. We are so thankful to everyone that donated their time, talents, and funds and to those that came out to run, walk, volunteer, and support our fight against pancreatic cancer.”
The SPARK Award is a prestigious annual award that celebrates and recognizes the efforts of individuals and organizations making a positive impact in Memphis
The Kosten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research was recently named as a 2017 SPARK Award winner for a nonprofit with an annual budget under $1M. The prestigious annual awards recognize the efforts of individuals, nonprofits, corporations, and schools, in 13 different categories who are igniting change and making a positive impact in the Greater Memphis community. The 2017 winners were announced at an awards ceremony which aired on WKNO-TV on Dec. 18.
“We are excited and honored to be recognized by the community to receive a Spark Award as an organization that is igniting change,” said Alan Kosten, Chairman of the Herb Kosten Pancreatic Cancer Charitable Fund. “Over the past 14 years, we have sought to improve community support, awareness, and funding for pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest known cancers. It is humbling to know that, with the help of our amazing volunteers and supporters, we are accomplishing our mission.”
Fight Pancreatic Cancer at the 8th Annual Kick It 5K Benefiting the Kosten Foundation at Shelby Farms Park on April 8, 2018
Register for the Kick It 5K Before March 13 to be Entered into a Drawing to Win a Fitbit
Memphis, Tenn., February 5, 2018 – The 8th Annual Kick It 5K will take place Sunday, April 8 at Shelby Farms Park at 1 p.m. The all-ages event includes a 5K run, 1-mile fun walk, opportunities for spirit runners, an inspirational survivor ceremony, entertainment, and food vendors. Registration is open at https://kickit5k.racesonline.com/. Individuals who register on or before March 13 will be entered into a drawing to win a Fitbit!
Organizations and Individuals throughout the Mid-South Join together to Raise Awareness of Pancreatic Cancer in November
Memphis, Tenn., November 1, 2017 – The Kosten Foundation is bringing awareness to one of the most deadly forms of cancer during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month this November with various initiatives and events, including their annual symposium lecture, City and County Mayoral Proclamations, purple lighting of public and private structures, a Tribute at Twilight event, and Kosten Foundation Purple Day for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness. All donations to the Kosten Foundation in November will also be matched by Susan and Alan Kosten. Donations can be made online at www.kostenfoundation.com.