Maureen Shul founded WINGS OF HOPE FOR PANCREATIC CANCER RESEARCH in 2012 in Colorado (U.S.) after losing her brother and mother to pancreatic cancer within months of each other. Driven by grief and motivated by how woefully behind pancreatic cancer is in terms of research funding, early diagnostic methods and effective treatments, Shul’s goal was to form an all-volunteer organization dedicated to raising funding for pancreatic cancer research.

From left: Cathy Noon, pancreatic cancer survivor; Dr. Marco Del Chiaro, Division Chief, Surgical Oncology Clinical Director, Hepato-Pancreatic-Biliary Program, University of Colorado; Maureen Shul, WINGS OF HOPE founder; and Dr. Richard Schulick, Director, University of Colorado Cancer Center.

In 2013, WINGS OF HOPE entered into a formal partnership with the University of Colorado Cancer Center, whereby a collaborative effort was established to raise awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer research taking place at this medical center. Through annual golf tournaments and fundraising benefits, WINGS OF HOPE awards research grants annually to physicians and researchers working specifically on pancreatic cancer-related projects. This seed funding is instrumental in allowing those smaller, innovative projects to rapidly translate to the clinic and move forward in receiving much larger grants on a national scale.

In 2019, grants were awarded to projects looking into radiation therapy and the mechanisms that cause it to sometimes contribute to the aggressive increase of fibrosis, leading to resistance to chemotherapy and radiation.

WINGS OF HOPE looks to the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition for the latest information on research developments through its network of nonprofit organizations and its annual conference.  It is through this positive and collaborative network that WINGS OF HOPE shares in the ongoing research data with doctors, researchers and other nonprofit organizations.