Thank You from Mary Hesdorffer

Mary Hesdorfferby Mary Hesdorffer, NP, Executive Director of the Meso Foundation

It feels like a time warp as we move from project to project, one day blending into the next. We are deeply immersed in planning three regional conferences before this year ends, and projecting what is in store for us in 2015.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of those who participated in our 2014 Symposium, which took place in early March. It is so important that we gather together to address the individual and global needs of the mesothelioma community. Weren’t our doctors amazing? I was so grateful that they came out in large numbers to support us and to impart valuable knowledge and support to those in need.

I would also like to thank the individual members of the staff who made the conference appear so effortless.

Erin Maas was responsible for the site location and all of the logistics that go along with running a conference. Thank you, Erin, for a job well done.

Maja Belamaric and Beth Posocco were in charge of communications and marketing the conference, work that is not always visible to the public. The live stream attracted nearly 600 viewers thanks to their tireless efforts to ensure that it was properly managed and advertised.

Erica Ruble was the unofficial hostess of the event making sure that everyone was welcomed and warmly introduced to others. Her fundraising knowledge and encouragement to others has helped us to grow exponentially.

Dana Purcell was responsible for planning many of the supportive care and fundraising sessions. I think we can all testify to a job well done and we look forward to her continued work on community events and individual fundraisers over the upcoming year.

Last but not least is our government affairs director, Jessica Barker. Jessica is well-known on the hill championing our causes and making valuable connections with politicians and government entities to provide our community with a strong voice in Washington. You will see Jessica making her rounds to many political events and she is a sage advisor to both Melinda and me. If you are planning to attend the ADAO conference taking place in Washington, DC in April, please introduce yourself to Jessica as she will be representing the Foundation at this asbestos-focused event. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend, but I wish Linda Reinstein a successful conference.

Finally, our CEO Melinda is really owed a debt of gratitude for managing the business side of the Foundation and ensuring our financial health so we can remain strong in achieving the goals of our mission. It is a pleasure to work closely with Melinda as she brings her impressive non-profit background into the discussion and helps me to advance the scientific agenda of the Foundation, proving continuously that two heads are better than one!

Keep in close touch with me and let me know your thoughts on how we are doing. Also, we will soon be announcing the date and time for another telephonic town-hall meeting to discuss the future and current state of the Foundation.

Message from IASLC

by Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner
Executive Director, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

IASLC

Mary and Melinda made it to the cover of the IASLC conference daily newspaper!

Melinda and I are currently attending the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and I am so pleased to report that interest in mesothelioma research is exploding.  Professor Bruce Robinson hosted a one day event in the day preceding the conference to gather all the experts in one room to present and discuss where we are headed in mesothelioma research.  We were given an insight into some of the sessions that were to be presented at the larger meeting and an opportunity was provided to discuss them in detail in a small focused working session.  Many of the presenters were past Mesothelioma Applied Research grant recipients and we were proud to see their work progressing.  Professor Robinson, then, hosted the group for an evening of drinks and dinner where networking and further discussion of topics pertaining to mesothelioma were explored.  We are so grateful to Professor Robinson for inviting us to be part of the meeting as well as the evening socialization.  He is a fantastic host, an amazing humanitarian and brilliant researcher.  When I return home expect to see updates and breaking news from this meeting.

Final tally from this important conference:

Delegates: 5,340
Countries Represented: 97
Talks on Mesothelioma: 47

Meso Foundation Participates in Prestigious Conference on Lung Cancer

IASLCOn October 27 – 30, Mary Hesdorffer, the executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation), and Melinda Kotzian, the chief executive officer of the Meso Foundation, are scheduled to attend and participate in the 15th World Conference on Lung Cancer  in Sydney, Australia, organized by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).

They will be representing the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and will be raising awareness of mesothelioma amidst over 7,000 delegates from over 100 countries.

In her capacity as a nurse practitioner and an expert in mesothelioma treatment and care, Mary is scheduled to speak at several sessions, including one on the use of social media networks to communicate with and provide support to mesothelioma patients. Mary is a viewed as a pioneer in this area. As a speaker, Mary’s travel and lodging costs are entirely covered by IASLC.

Melinda’s travel costs are also covered through a grant by IASLC for which she applied earlier this year. She was one of five grant recipients from all over the world awarded travel grants to enable them to attend this important event.

The Meso Foundation will also be hosting a booth with information about mesothelioma and programs and services provided by the Foundation.

Mary Hesdorffer, NP, to Present at UPenn Conference

Mary Speaking at 2013 SymposiumMary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s executive director, will be presenting at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) on November 15. Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center will be hosting the conference titled “Pleural Mesothelioma 2013: Multidisciplinary Diagnosis, Treatment and Investigation.” Mary has been selected to present alongside national and international mesothelioma experts “to provide the full spectrum of perspectives on the many challenging and controversial topics surrounding this cancer.”

Mary Hesdorffer received her undergraduate degree at the College of New Rochelle in New York and went on to receive her Masters of Science at the same institution. She is a fully credentialed Nurse Practitioner and has spent 16 years actively treating patients with mesothelioma. Mary has an expertise in the development and implementation of clinical trials. She is published in peer reviewed journals and has lectured nationally on topics pertaining to mesothelioma with particular emphasis on clinical trials, as well as symptom and disease management.

At the University of Pennsylvania conference, Mary will present “The mesothelioma patient – what are the unmet needs?” This lecture will review what is currently being done for mesothelioma patients and examine what aspects can be improved and what additional measures should be taken to better fulfill patient needs. In the “Pleural Mesothelioma 2013” brochure, Mary Hesdorffer is described as “the person with likely the greatest number of contacts with mesothelioma patients in the world.”

Lee Krug, MD, a member of the Meso Foundation’s Board of Directors, will also be presenting at “Pleural Mesothelioma 2013”. Dr. Krug is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Division of Medical Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Described as “an acknowledged world leader,” Dr. Krug will present “Mesothelioma – Is there a standard of care, is there a staging system?” This lecture “will discuss the current staging of malignant pleural mesothelioma, including the limitations of this system, and will review what is currently considered ‘standard’ treatment.”

View the full brochure for “Pleural Mesothelioma 2013: Multidisciplinary Diagnosis, Treatment and Investigation” for further conference details.

Why Two Talking Heads are Better than One

By Mary, Hesdorffer, NP, Executive Director
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

By now, many of you have seen the announcement that Melinda Kotzian has been promoted to CEO. Last week, following our very first announcement of this excellent news, I received a few quizzical emails expressing concern at the change in leadership of the Foundation.

I would like to set your minds at ease that this is not a change in leadership but recognition of a strong partnership that has been in place and continued to develop when I assumed the role of Executive Director.

I believe that to be a strong leader one must recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. I accepted this position with the caveat that Melinda would be my equal partner, utilizing her years of experience in the world of nonprofits, thus freeing me up to continue my work with the medical and mesothelioma communities.

Mary and Melinda working side by side during a recent meeting.

Mary and Melinda working side by side during a recent meeting.

Thanks to Melinda’s solid grasp of the business side of the Foundation, my role is now stronger than ever as I continue to focus on the medical and scientific areas of the organization, while simultaneously expanding our network of relationships. Melinda and I have been able to problem solve easily, both recognizing each other’s expertise, and have managed to reach consensus amicably and with both good humor and shared vision. We are more alike than different and I have felt very fortunate to have Melinda at my side. Her promotion was a recognition well deserved for her often behind-the-scenes expertise that is crucial to the future of the organization. I expect that you will continue to see changes at the Foundation in our staff and program levels but this is to keep the momentum going in addressing the growing needs of the organization. Please join me in congratulating Melinda on her promotion and sharing in our joint vision for the future of the Foundation.