Tri-funded grants stay in state

Tri for a Cure raised $1.1 million in 2011, and the goal of the Maine Cancer Foundation, which runs the event, is to meet or beat that amount this year.

The triathlon, now in its fifth year, is the Maine Cancer Foundation’s biggest fundraiser. Money raised through its donations and sponsorships provides grants for cancer research, education and patient support programs to Maine recipients.

“We have roughly an 80/20 split on the funding – 80 percent is committed to research, the other 20 percent to education/patient support,” says Cullen McGough, communications and marketing coordinator the Maine Cancer Foundation.

Recipients range from physicians and other researchers exploring highly technical cancer-prediction tools, to volunteer community organizations that provide transportation, to treatment for needy cancer patients and those looking to just make life a little easier and happier for families with a loved one battling cancer. The Maine Cancer Foundation also recently started a fund to provide scholarships for oncology professionals for additional training, or to maintain their certification.

Research grants funded by Tri for a Cure are given out once a year, chosen by an independent selection committee made up of doctors, scientists and other professionals who work in the cancer care industry, McGough says.

The 10 research grants awarded in 2011 were to the following (listing includes the recipients’ topic of study):

Shuhua Bai, Ph.D.

Husson University, Bangor


Targeted SiRNA Inhibition of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors in Lung Cancer Cells

Amy Haskins, Ph.D

Maine Medical Center


Validating Prediction Tools for Prostate Cancer Quality of Life Outcomes

Derek Hoelz, Ph.D.?Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health


The Molecular Structure of Arm 1

Lucy Liaw, Ph.D.

Maine Medical Center


Notch Regulation of the Tumor Suppressor miR-145 in Breast Cancer Cells

Da-Ting Lin, Ph.D.

The Jackson Laboratory


Imaging Glioma Stem Cell Dynamics in Vivo

Antonia Planchart, Ph.D.

Mount Dessert Biological Laboratory $75,823

Functional Analysis of Foxq1’s Role in Tumor Vascularization

Igor Prudovsky, Ph.D., DSc

Maine Medical Center


FGF Export from Endothelial Cells: Protumorigenic Potential and Methods of Regulation

Pradeep Sathyanarayana, Ph.D.

Maine Medical Center


Inceptive Role of miR-199b in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Douglas Spicer, Ph.D.

Maine Medical Center


Small Molecule Inhibitors of Twist1 Function to Inhibit Tumor Progression

Todd W. Vanderah, Ph.D.

University of New England


Non-Psychotropic Cannabinoid2 Receptor Agonists Inhibit Breast Cancer Proliferation

Grants for education and patient support are given twice a year, also selected by an independent panel of cancer professionals. Recipients last year were:

Cancer Care Center of York County $6,500

To create a comprehensive resource binder for patients of Cancer Care Center of York County.

Center for Grieving Children Portland


To benefit the Tender Living Care program, which supports the whole family when a parent is seriously ill.

Community Concepts, serving residents of Androscoggin?Franklin and Oxford counties


For its program that provides transportation to and from cancer treatment and support services for patients that are unable to find any alternative transportation services.

Downeast Hospice


For its program providing free comfort care and emotional support for the terminally ill and their families and caregivers, including transportation, and to fund hospice education for volunteers and provide for a part-time bereavement counselor.

Healthy Community Coalition

Franklin County


For the Keep Franklin County Healthy Program to expand its work in cancer prevention and early detection education.



For its Colorectal Cancer Screening and Testing Program to assist in improving Maine’s screening rate.

Maine Medical Center ?Research Institute


For the institute’s Passport to Care one-year pilot program that aims to mitigate practical, financial and logistical barriers to cancer care.

York County Community Action Corp.


For the Connecting Cancer Care program, offering transportation services to those seeking treatment services.

The Beacon Fund


This fund provided grants of $1,000 each to Maine Center for Cancer Medicine, the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center and the Cancer Community Center to be given out in small increments ($25, $50, $100) on an individual basis for direct and immediate need at the discretion of an onsite cancer care professional.

Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center

Washington and Hancock counties


To help fund a program coordinator position.

Camp Sunshine, Casco


To the Family Sponsorship Program to enable one Maine family affected by childhood cancer to attend a weeklong summer camp program.

Cancer Community Center ?South Portland ?$5,000

To sustain the Maine Buddy Program, a one-to-one support program for Mainers living with cancer.

Cancer Community Center

South Portland


To fund the Wellness Program, which offers free classes in physical fitness, mental health and stress reduction as well as healthy eating and cooking for individuals and their families living with cancer.

Caring Connections

YWCA, Bangor


To support a community assessment of the need, facilitation factors, and barriers to accessing Caring Connections’ Support Groups.

Central Maine Medical Center $10,000

To provide high-risk cancer patients with group and individual nutritional counseling by a registered dietitian who specializes in oncology.

Lake Region Senior Service Inc. $6,000

To expand the Senior Transportation Program, which provides cancer patients short-term and long-term transportation to health-care providers at no cost to them.

Maine Breast Cancer Coalition


To continue the Support Service Fund, which provides financial assistance for breast health or breast cancer related needs to Maine residents who have nowhere else to turn for help.

Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency


To help fund the Maine Health Care Providers meeting, which provides Maine health care providers with continuing education in the of familial cancer syndromes.

Melanoma Foundation ?of New England


To support the Your Skin is In program in southern and midcoast Maine, which serves to build awareness among high school students about the dangers of tanning.

Mercy Hospital



To maintain the New Leaf Survivorship Program, which has the primary goal of improving the quality of life, functional performance, and psychosocial adjustments of cancer survivors and promote healthy lifestyles for lifelong health and wellness.

Regional Medical Center of Lubec


To present the “Cancer, There is Hope Here in Washington County” conference, which serves to educate cancer survivors and their loved ones about services and options available in Washington County.

Southern Maine Community College $3,800

To enable SMCC students in the Radiation Therapy Department to attend an educational conference designed to help prepare graduates of accredited radiation therapy programs to sit for their National Certification Examination.

So far this year, the Maine Cancer Foundation has awarded its spring educational and patient support grants. Those are:

Be The Match, Maine Patient Assistant Program


To be used in part to identify Maine blood and bone marrow transplant patients and provide them with money for eligible expenses, such as lodging, food and transportation.

Camp Sunshine, Casco


To the Family Sponsorship Program to enable one Maine family affected by childhood cancer to attend a weeklong summer camp program.

Cancer Community Center


To support a manager of volunteer services for the one-to-one Maine Buddy Program for cancer patients and train 25 additional volunteers.

CancerCare of Maine/?Eastern Maine Medical Center


To support Teleconference Palliative Care Awareness for Rural Patients, including education and phone support with an advanced care nurse.

Dean Snell Cancer Foundation, Brunswick


To provide financial assistance to cancer patients at the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine for transportation to appointments and treatment.

Hospice of Southern Maine


To support the Bereavement Support Program, in which nearly 900 visits are made per year.

Jackson Laboratory


To create an hourlong online course, “The Impact of Genomic Medicine on Cancer Patient Care,” to educate Maine physicians and other health-care professionals.

Lake Region Senior Services Inc.


To help with operational costs associated with the service, which provides transportation to, among others, cancer patients needing to get to medical appointments.

MaineGeneral Medical Center


To provide materials and cover costs of staff who work with patients accessing cancer screening services and free smoking cessation counseling services.

Maine Medical Center, $5,000

To aid in establishing an Oncology Pharmacy Practice Residency program.

Maine Medical Center, $6,000

To support the position of “Survivorship Nurse Navigator,” who helps cancer survivors with their physical, psychosocial and emotional issues.

MaineHealth, $20,000

To implement and evaluate a cancer genetics telemedicine program at three to four rural hospitals in different areas of the state.

Mercy Hospital, $4,000

To support the hospital’s Clinical Trials Program.

Patrick Dempsy Center for Cancer $3,000

To fund a pilot program by the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center to create drop-in centers in Washington County.

Pen Bay Medical Center


To be used to establish an Oncology Clinical Research Center with the capacity to offer local clinical trials for area cancer patients.

Penquis, $8,000

To provide eligible cancer patients in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties free transportation to treatment appointments.

Pine Tree Hospice, $6,000

For general support of this central Maine agency’s volunteer services.

Ronald McDonald House of Portland


For general support of this “home-away-from-home” for families who have children hospitalized locally.

Webber Hospital, $5,000

To support “Walk Away from Cancer,” a free educational program for recent cancer survivors.

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