Pancreatic cancer research at University of Colorado gets a lift from Wings of Hope

wings of hope

The Wings of Hope check presentation.


Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research is relatively new in the crowded world of nonprofit organizations, but is already making an impact by creating the first endowed fund for pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado.

Maureen Shul, who led the effort to incorporate the City of Castle Pines and became its first mayor, founded Wings of Hope in 2012 after losing her brother and mother to pancreatic cancer within months of one another.

Like most people, Shul had no idea that by the time someone is diagnosed, they are usually in the advanced stages of the disease, rendering treatments ineffective. A test has not yet been developed for early detection of pancreatic cancer.

“In this era of limited research funding,” says Colin Weekes, MD, PhD, director of pancreatic cancer research at University of Colorado School of Medicine, “It has been the support of Wings of Hope that has allowed us to translate laboratory findings into clinical trial strategies for implementation for patients, ultimately bringing significant change and progress for patients and their families.”

Despite the prediction that by 2020 pancreatic cancer is predicted to rise from the current 4th leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths to the 2nd, it is one of the least recognized and underfunded when it comes to cancer research.

A year after Shul founded Wings of Hope the CU Cancer Center entered into a formal partnership with the foundation providing a collaborative focus for raising awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer research. To date, Wings of Hope has contributed more than $150,000 to keep pancreatic cancer research moving forward. The most recent donation of $95,000 was made April 10, 2015.

At the same time, Wings of Hope became the first to establish an endowment at CU specifically for pancreatic cancer research.

“While Wings of Hope will always be my personal tribute to my brother and mother, the effort is truly for every pancreatic cancer patient, their families and friends, in the hope that the ongoing research taking place at the University of Colorado Cancer Center will lead to early diagnostic methods, more effective treatments and ultimately a cure,” says Shul.

In an effort to continue raising money for research, Wings of Hope is presenting the SR-71 BLACKBIRD SPY PLANE CHRONICLES on May 28th at The Lone Tree Arts Center. Shul’s surviving brother, SR-71 pilot Brian Shul, and his navigator Walt Watson, will give a presentation on their most exciting covert spy plane missions as described in their best-selling book, “The Untouchables.”

For tickets and more information on Wings of Hope please visit or contact Maureen Shul at 720-733-0491

About the author: CU Cancer Center

Located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the University of Colorado Cancer Center is Colorado’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, a distinction recognizing its outstanding contributions to research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. CU Cancer Center is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network®, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers working to establish and deliver the gold standard in cancer clinical guidelines. CU Cancer Center is a consortium of more than 400 researchers and physicians at three state universities and six institutions, all working toward one goal: Translating science into life.

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