NEWS, EVENTS & STORIES
From our John Wayne Cancer Foundation community.
America’s favorite movie star, John Wayne, was stricken with lung cancer in 1964, and he beat it, and then he was diagnosed with stomach cancer 15 years later. In commercials, he asked Americans to join him in the fight against cancer when he said, “They may find a cure for cancer even without your help, but if I were you, I wouldn’t bet my life on it.” Before he passed away at age 72 from cancer, he asked his children to raise funds to give cancer doctors the resources they need to save lives and cure cancer. His children created the John Wayne Cancer Foundation in 1985 to help make their dad’s dream of curing cancer come true.
Today, more than 170 John Wayne cancer doctors called “John Wayne Alumni Fellows” are working to revolutionize cancer research and treatment worldwide. The surgeons are trained at the highest level to employ the most advanced techniques and technologies for studying and treating all forms of cancer. The John Wayne Alumni Fellows are leaders at cancer centers and academic institutions across the United States. John Wayne cancer doctors have created many breakthroughs including the standard of care for diagnosing breast cancer and skin cancer, pioneering immunology, creating the Fellowship training program, using A.I. to improve diagnoses, and the Block the Blaze program, a revolutionary program that educates the next generation how to prevent and detect skin cancer.
“We host the John Wayne Grit Series, a series of trail runs throughout the west, to fundraise for cancer research and keep Dad’s dream of curing cancer alive,” said Ethan Wayne, John Wayne’s son who is the Director of JWCF. “In addition, all proceeds from our online store go to JWCF to help fight cancer.”
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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we recently connected with Dr. Juan Antonio Santamaria on his latest research initiatives. His focus? Inclusivity. Here is what he had to say:
"Clinical trials can be the best way to treat cancer; however, minorities are underrepresented in clinical trials due to cultural biases, poor cancer literacy, financial/insurance issues, language barriers, geography, and lack of knowledge, trust, and access to clinical trials. Our proposition is that a culturally and linguistically adept breast cancer Lay Patient Navigation Program will increase Hispanic minorities participation in breast cancer clinical trials in the Omaha metro area. There will be a training curriculum for the lay navigators, social media engagement, community collaborations, and support groups. At the same time, women of minorities will increase the use of screening mammograms in our area. Our goals are to mitigate and eliminate this negative social determinant of health among our area minorities and pursue permanent funding for the programs long-term sustainability."
We're thrilled to be supporting Dr. Santamaria on this intiative and are grateful to have he and his team in the fight against cancer.
The University of California, Irvine today announced a gift from the John Wayne Cancer Foundation that will support advances in research, teaching and service activities in surgical oncology through the creation of an endowed chair and a fellowship in the School of Medicine. The donation will establish the John Wayne Cancer Foundation Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology and also fund the UCI John Wayne Cancer Foundation Endowed Fellowship in Surgical Oncology.
“This gift leverages the unique benefits of an academic medical center like UCI, which offers clinical care, education and research. Our doctors have access to cutting-edge technologies, resources and therapies for treating patients and are also making groundbreaking discoveries in the lab. The partnership with the JWCF supports all of those efforts as we continue to make strides in the battle against cancer,” said Dr. Michael J. Stamos, dean of the UCI School of Medicine.
The JWCF was established by actor John Wayne’s family in 1985 and supports a nationwide network of John Wayne alumni fellows who are advancing research and treatment in a variety of surgical specialties. According to Stamos, many John Wayne alumni fellows have completed clinical rotations in surgical oncology at UCI Health.
“The team at the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and I are thrilled to partner with the amazing staff at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine. One of our earliest initiatives, Block the Blaze, was created on campus there, and it truly feels full-circle to be launching our latest surgical oncology fellowship program there too. We’re looking forward to years of continued research and progress in the fight against cancer,” said Ethan Wayne, JWCF director.
“This gift demonstrates our shared commitment to education and training,” Stamos said. “We are preparing the next generation of doctors who will shape the future of cancer care and revolutionize treatment.”
The chair holder will be either the chief of surgical oncology or a clinician research scientist in the field of surgical oncology.