Whenever you think things are really tough in your life, always know that someone out there could be dealing with things much tougher! As we are well aware of Hans Rurffert’s stomach cancer here in Pickens County, others out there are fighting the fight and keeping the memories of their loved ones alive.
Here is a reply from Cindy Chelcun, whose husband and mother n law both passed away from stomach cancer and she is keeping their memories alive.
Thank you so much, Beth, for sharing our family’s story in order to increase awareness and prevention of this deadly cancer. Stomach cancer is the 4th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, and the second leading cause of cancer death. People like Hans are fighting a challenging fight, and I send him my strongest wishes for continuing success!
We need to keep spreading the word, and funding research, to save more lives. I participate in loving honor of my late husband, Greg, and in support of many family members. Thank you again…I hope everyone will keep checking the link for information about stomach cancer, and for ideas on how to help in November.
Here in Pickens County, Georgia, we all know too well the problems that Hans Rueffert and his family are going through with Hans’ cancer. Back in 2005, right after the reality series, The Next Food Network Star, where Hans won 3rd place, he found out he had the stomach issues. Hans & his family have been dealing with the health problems since. Hans, you are definitely in our prayers for better health.
Courtesy of No Stomach For Cancer, Inc.
In 1982 Elaine Kuck Chelcun died of gastric cancer. She was 52. Elaine left behind her husband, Fred, and four children.
In 2007 Elaine’s son Greg, 56, was diagnosed with Stage IV gastric cancer. Greg passed away on February 8, 2009, leaving behind his wife, Cindy, and two children: Brian and Johanna.
Greg’s diagnosis caused his sister Karen and other members of the Chelcun family to investigate whether genetics might have played a role in the re-appearance of gastric cancer in their family. It had. Testing revealed that the Chelcuns shared a rare genetic cancer syndrome: HDGC.
Sadly, this discovery came too late for Elaine and too late for Greg. Other members of the family, however, underwent prophylactic total gastrectomies – and in each case, post-surgical testing revealed the presence of undetected cancer in their stomachs. These members of the Chelcun family – along with families worldwide who share this condition – owe their lives to those who have chosen to study HDGC and to spread awareness about the importance of genetic testing.
NSFC: The Early Efforts
During Greg’s illness, the Chelcun family designed a wristband to symbolize their solidarity and to share with extended family and friends. They adopted the words Kia Kaha, which means be strong in the face of challenge in the language of the Maori (mou-ree) people of New Zealand, where HDGC was first identified and where research continues to be strong. Be Strong Hearted became a source of strength, and it propelled the Chelcuns to expand the scope of their HDGC-related efforts. It became clear that to combat this devastating disease much needs to be done in terms of education and awareness, and significant funds need to be raised to support research. In July 2008 the Chelcuns spearheaded a fundraising effort within the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin: The Be Strong Hearted® campaign of The Chelcun Family Fund For Stomach Cancer Research. They also launched the first version of this website, known at the time as BeStrongHearted.org.
Growth Beyond All Expectations
The website drew visitors from all over the globe, almost immediately. The Chelcuns knew of only 100 families affected by HDGC when the site launched. Soon they began to hear from other families in the same discovery process, often triggered by the tragic and early death of a family member. These families were struggling in their searches for information and support, just as the Chelcuns had.
The Be Strong Hearted® Campaign garnered attention from the media and from medical and genetics professionals and researchers worldwide. The Campaign was off to a spectacular start, raising funds for the advancement of critical research, and creating a support network for providing reliable, accurate information for affected families.
Establishment of No Stomach for Cancer, Inc.
Tremendous response to the website and to The Be Strong Hearted® Campaign made one thing clear: in order to make a real difference, the Chelcun family needed help. It was time to move beyond the family and create a nonprofit organization with broad public support and governance. Accordingly, No Stomach For Cancer, Inc. was established in September 2009.
NSFC undertook immediate international fundraising for diffuse gastric cancer research, and will continue the Chelcun Family’s effort to provide resources and support for affected families worldwide. To learn more visit www.NoStomachForCancer.org
NSFC lovingly dedicates its mission to Elaine Kuck Chelcun, to Greg Chelcun, and to all around the world who have lost their lives and their loved ones to HDGC and other diffuse gastric cancers. We honor those fighting this unique challenge today.
Kia Kaha, Be Strong Hearted!
Mission: The mission of No Stomach For Cancer, Inc. (NSFC) is to expedite education and research for early diagnosis, screening, treatment and prevention of Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) and other diffuse gastric cancers and their related health risks, and to provide a network of support for affected families.
NSFC seeks broader identification of families at risk, screening and treatment options to avoid prophylactic total gastrectomy (preventive removal of the entire stomach), and a cure for HDGC and other diffuse gastric cancers.