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?”
For more information please call Maureen Shul at 720-733-0491 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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
To view October 22, 2011 WINGS OF HOPE event click here....
To view April 25th, 2013 WINGS OF HOPE event click here....
To view October 30th, 2014 WINGS OF HOPE event click here....
To view our many other past events click here....
JOIN THE EFFORT…BE A PART OF THE POSSIBLE, BE THE HOPE.