The Founder’s Story
Karen Chelcun Schreiber, the founder of No Stomach For Cancer (NSFC), was first touched by gastric cancer in 1982 when her mother, Elaine Kuck Chelcun, died at age 52. Karen was impacted again in 2007 when her brother Greg was diagnosed with Stage IV gastric cancer at age 56. He passed away on February 8, 2009, leaving behind his wife Cindy and his children, Brian and Johanna.
Greg’s diagnosis led Karen to investigate whether genetics might have played a role in the re-appearance of gastric cancer in their family. She discovered a research paper on a cancer syndrome, sometimes caused by a mutation of the CDH1 gene. Through self-referral for genetic testing, the Chelcun family learned they shared a rare genetic cancer syndrome: Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC).
Many members of the Chelcun family underwent total prophylactic gastrectomies – and in each case, post-surgical testing revealed the presence of undetected cancer in their stomachs. These Chelcun family members owe their lives to those who study HDGC and spread awareness about the importance of genetic testing.
NSFC: The Early Efforts
The Chelcun family designed a solidarity wristband to share with friends and family portraying the words Kia Kaha, meaning, “Be strong in the face of challenge” or “stand strong” in the language of the Maori people of New Zealand, where HDGC was first identified. The phrase “Be Strong Hearted” became a source of strength.
By July 2008, the Chelcuns recognized the need for expanded stomach cancer education, awareness, and research funds. They spearheaded the Be Strong Hearted Campaign of the Chelcun Family Fund for Stomach Cancer Research, a fundraising effort within the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin. BeStrongHearted.org, the first version of the NSFC website, was launched to become a resource for people affected by stomach cancer.
NSFC is Established
The Be Strong Hearted campaign and website received worldwide attention, and it became clear that to make a real difference, it was time to move beyond the Chelcun family. It was time to establish a nonprofit organization with broad public support and governance. Accordingly, No Stomach For Cancer, Inc. (NSFC) was founded in September 2009.
NSFC immediately took on international fundraising for stomach cancer research, providing stomach cancer resources and supporting families worldwide affected by stomach cancer. By September 2010, the Internal Revenue Service recognized No Stomach For Cancer, Inc. as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
In the years ahead, NFSC will continue working toward its mission: to support research and unite the caring power of people worldwide affected by stomach cancer.
We lovingly dedicate our mission to Elaine Kuck Chelcun, to Greg Chelcun, and to all around the world who have lost their lives and their loved ones to stomach cancer. We honor those fighting this unique challenge today.
- Hosted 4th Spotlight on Gastric Cancer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Co-sponsored first-ever NCCN Guidelines for Patients with Stomach Cancer
- NSFC celebrates the sixth annual Stomach Cancer Awareness Month®.
- NSFC awards a $29,000 research grant.
- NSFC awards $100,000 in stomach cancer research grants.
- NSFC awards $20,000 in stomach cancer research grants.
- NSFC awards its first research grant of $10,000.
- The first annual No Stomach For Cancer® Walk occurs. Participants from more than 34 states and 10 countries raise over $35,000 for stomach cancer research.
September 28, 2010
- Senate Resolution 655 passes, establishing November as Stomach Cancer Awareness Month®.
- NSFC initiatives encourage Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to introduce a Senate resolution for Stomach Cancer Awareness Month. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) co-sponsors the resolution.
- NSFC’s Scientific Advisory Board is established.
- NSFC receives 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service.
- A new logo design and the tag line “Supporting Research. Empowering Families.” are introduced.
- The Chelcun Family Funds are transferred to NSFC, establishing a restricted fund for research funding. In addition, an endowment fund is established at the Madison Community Foundation.
- A new corporation, No Stomach For Cancer, Inc. (NSFC), is established.
- The Be Strong Hearted stomach cancer awareness website launches.
- The Chelcun family begins raising money for stomach cancer research and establishes the Chelcun Family Fund for Stomach Cancer Research at the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin.
- The Chelcun family begins raising awareness for stomach cancer, sharing medical news, and Kia Kaha / Be Strong Hearted wristbands at their family reunion.
- The Chelcun family learns they are affected by Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) caused by a CDH1 gene mutation.
- Elaine’s son, Greg Chelcun, is diagnosed with stomach cancer at age 56.
- Elaine Chelcun dies at age 52 from unspecified stomach cancer.