Although the KACF has continually grown and evolved on a near-daily basis since it first began, there are some major milestones that have lead us to where we are today.
Kristen Carr, a 19 year-old journalism student at New York University, learns that she has sarcoma. Her doctor, world-renowned Sarcoma expert Murray Brennan, explains to Kristen how much is still left unknown about the disease. When Dr. Brennan tells Kristen, “We need more doctors and researchers”, Kristen responds, “Let’s hire some.”
After losing Kristen earlier that year, her friends and family organize a landmark sold-out benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in June, featuring Bruce Springsteen and other artists whom Kristen admired. The event exceeds all expectations and allows the newly-formed KACF to begin funding the training of sarcoma experts almost immediately.
The first Kristen Ann Carr Fund Surgical Fellow completes a year of specialized training under the supervision of Dr. Murray Brennan, formerly chief of MSKCC’s Department of Surgery and world-renowned sarcoma expert. Each year since, a KACF Surgical Fellow has been trained extensively in sarcoma research and treatment techniques. The result has been a larger, more diverse generation of sarcoma experts. These doctors now form a network of expertise in locations across the United States and in eastern Canada that did not previously exist.
Kristen’s friends form a committee to host the first annual benefit party, later known as A Night to Remember, in New York City. The benefit begins to grow and evolve with each year to become a premier event with a dedicated and enthusiastic following. The KACF also hosts the first holiday party for all MSKCC pediatric patients and their families.
The KACF publishes the first edition of Sarcoma Update, a newsletter which provides information about research, treatments, and other resources to people affected by sarcoma.
KACF helps launch Musicians on Call, a sister organization whose mission is to bring the healing power of music to patients in healthcare facilities in cities around the US through bedside musical performances, “music pharmacies”, and Project Playback, a program which gives patients the chance to have their own music recorded and produced.
KACF provides a startup grant to Planet Cancer, an organization dedicated to supporting young adults with cancer through its online community, retreats for young adult patients and survivors, patient advocacy and programs to educate doctors and other medical practitioners on how to be better understand and work with young adults with cancer.
KACF commits to raising funds in order to help establish a comprehensive sarcoma laboratory at MSKCC. The first of its kind, the facility which will come to be named The Kristen Ann Carr Fund Sarcoma Laboratory pursues research at all levels, from the bench to the bedside, to truly bring the fight against sarcoma to a new level.
KACF fulfills its ambitious fundraising goal to help create a comprehensive sarcoma laboratory at MSKCC, allowing the Fund to turn its attention to another long-anticipated project, the KACF Medical Oncology Fellowship Program at MSKCC. As with the surgical fellowship, Kristen Ann Carr Medical Oncology fellows not only spread sarcoma expertise into places where it previously did not exist, but they also participate in training future generations of sarcoma doctors.
The first Murray F. Brennan Research Award is given by the KACF to a former MSKCC fellow who presents the most promising project in sarcoma treatment research. The two-year grant is intended to stimulate new research initiatives and expand the KACF’s research funding beyond MSKCC to a broader range of institutions.
KACF co-sponsors a sarcoma symposium at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence R.I. as part of the Murray Brennan award. Sarcoma experts from all over North America attend and presenters include some of the most prestigious figures in sarcoma research.
TODAY, AND TOMORROW
The Kristen Ann Carr Fund continues to seek out new opportunities to advance knowledge in the treatment of sarcoma and to support people and families whose lives are affected by cancer. Having established several important programs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the KACF is especially interested in broadening our support to more directly involve other worthwhile institutions and organizations.
We understand that the fight against sarcoma will not be won in a single arena and we plan to be there to lend a hand in as many ways as we can, while taking great care to focus our support only to those places where it will do the most good.”