Personal Stories

Grief- You’re Back Again?

Written by Kristen Palma, TargetCancer Foundation President.

Here is what I have learned about grief after having to cope with it for eleven years.  It is like that old t-shirt in the back of your drawer that pops up every year when you are doing your spring cleaning. You forgot it was there but it shows up each season and for some reason you decide to keep it- never ready to let it go. But you never wear it either. Continue reading

My Story of Grief: Experiencing the loss of a loved one during COVID-19

By Kimberley Balkus, TCF volunteer and advocate

2,403 days.

The number of days that my mom, Geri Keegan, lived with cholangiocarcinoma. She was given one year to live and every additional day we had with her was an absolute blessing. Continue reading

In Julienne’s Footsteps: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to Honor a Life

By guest writer Karen Dempsey

The bonds that Julienne Morriss Callaway forged and the values she embraced in life have been instrumental in sustaining her family in the aftermath of her death from cholangiocarcinoma. Continue reading

An Insider’s Perspective

Dr. Monika Laszkowska, a gastroenterology fellow, next to the poster she presented at the 2019 TargetCancer Foundation Think Tank on Advancing Gastroesophageal Cancer Research. She shares her reflections on her experience at the meeting below. Continue reading

Teeing off for TargetCancer Foundation

By TargetCancer Foundation 2019 Summer Intern Ollie Cheever

The fifth annual Matt Lindsay Memorial Golf Tournament tees off this Saturday, August 3rd, at the Awarii Dunes Golf Course in Axtell, Nebraska. Matthew Lindsay passed away in 2014 at the age of 28 from cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer. Ever since, the Lindsay family has been commemorating his memory with the annual tournament, with funds directed to cholangiocarcinoma research through TargetCancer Foundation.

Continue reading

A holiday reflection

By Alie Plouff, TargetCancer Foundation Advocacy Council Member

Like many things in life, grief isn’t black and white. In fact, it is mostly one large gray area. Grief and how it manifests itself is different for everyone. For me, grief comes in waves. I lost my mom, Kathy, in April 2017 to cholangiocarcinoma,  a rare and aggressive cancer of the bile duct. Most days, I am able to navigate my grief by reflecting on the abundance of fond memories I shared with my mom. Sometimes, though, the waters are rough. The feeling of loss is overwhelming, and I wish so badly that I had more time to spend with her. Continue reading

ASCO 2018: An Advocate’s Perspective

By TargetCancer Foundation Advocacy Council Chair Leslie Condon

When I walked into McCormick Place on the first day of this year’s annual ASCO Conference, I was instantly swept into the sea of oncologists, researchers, pharma reps, and others from the medical field who had also descended upon the city for the weekend. Prior to attending the ASCO Conference as a first-time recipient of one of their Patient Advocate Travel Scholarships, I was told how overwhelming the event could be. Thankfully, my extensive prepping (and fascination with the ASCO i-Planner app) allowed me to quickly orient myself within the maelstrom and navigate to my first session, “Talking With Patients About Risk and Uncertainty.” It was one of the many patient-focused sessions being offered at ASCO during the conference, and one of two tracks that I had chosen to follow during my time there. Continue reading

Always remember you should be heard: A journey from caregiver, to patient, to advocate

By Guest Blogger Dana Deighton

Though my 25 years of professional experiences are mostly rooted in marketing, the last 15 years or so of my personal life have been defined in large part by cancer. I’ve experienced many facets: a caregiver, an advocate, and an unsuspecting patient.  Like most people, I learned there is no practice for cancer and there also are no do-overs.  It’s 24/7 on the job training with little time for research and even less for life altering decisions.  That is why I am so compelled to help create new dialogues between medical professionals, researchers, pharma, patients, and caregivers.  One doesn’t know what the other doesn’t share, which is what makes this an evolving opportunity—one that can only result in a win for patient outcomes. Continue reading

2018 Cholangiocarcioma Foundation Annual Conference: Life-changing, Engaging, and Emotional

By Kim Balkus, TargetCancer Foundation Advocacy Council Member

Writing a blog post after attending the 2018 Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Annual Conference sounds like an easy task, right? Quite the contrary. I returned home from the conference almost two weeks ago. It was an amazing experience! I met new friends and connected with friends I had met at TargetCancer Foundation events in the past. I have never attended a conference with subject matter so close to my heart. I even knew that I would be writing a blog post upon my return. I have thought about the blog post and written it in my head daily since my return. Putting my experience into words has proven to be so much harder! Continue reading


Leading up to the 8th Annual TargetCancer Foundation Gala, we will be sharing stories and perspectives on the gala from many of the people who make up the TargetCancer Foundation community. 

In this post, Emily talks about using her “Forage and Farm on Martha’s Vineyard” item that she won in the 2016 gala auction. We are grateful to Emily and award winning chef and generous donor Chris Fischer for so generously supporting TargetCancer Foundation!  Continue reading