A person who has the experience of finality with cancer should attempt to direct his or her dollars to those organizations that are thrifty and focused on funding quality, innovative, state-of-the-art research…. I believe that CCF and ASCO have that as a mantra.
—Frank M. Muller, Jr
Frank M. Muller, Jr, the newest member of the Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF) Cornerstone Planned Giving Society, has a 40-year history of successfully leading investment and high-tech corporations. He served 8 years on active duty in tours to Vietnam. It is rare for him to experience a challenge that cannot be overcome with hard work and perseverance. Yet, Mr. Muller encountered such a challenge when his beloved wife Sharon was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011.
A Life-Changing Experience
This was not the first time Mr. Muller had been impacted by cancer. His father developed prostate cancer in his 70s, followed by leukemia that took his life 10 years later.
Mr. Muller knew that pancreatic cancer was a much more lethal foe. When his wife was diagnosed, he traveled as far as China and Korea, searching for a cure. He was told that the best care could be received much closer to their home in Galveston, Texas. Sharon underwent most of her treatment at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Despite receiving excellent care, Sharon succumbed to her disease 11 months after she was diagnosed.
The loss was incalculable. “Sharon was the happiest person I ever knew,” he reflected. “She was exuberant and a loving mother and fantastic soul mate.”
The experience for Mr. Muller was life-changing. “I probably spend an hour a day on the Internet, looking at every article written on pancreatic cancer,” he said. It has led Mr. Muller, who is president of a medical technology/high technology investment company, to new business ventures. “I recently acquired a company owned by a doctor in Germany who is researching stem cells, wound healing, and pancreatic cancer using embryonic stem cells,” he shared.
Investing in the Next Generation of Cancer Research
Nora Janjan, MD, MBA, MPSA, FASCO, suggested Mr. Muller contact ASCO. At the time, Dr. Janjan was a member of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors.
“Dr. Janjan introduced me to key people at ASCO and CCF, and in 2013 I made my first trip to ASCO headquarters. Since then I’ve made more trips to visit the Foundation to help in any way I can. I was impressed that nearly 87% of dollars raised go toward research and other programs,” he shared.
As an entrepreneur, Mr. Muller was also impressed that CCF invests in developing the next generation of cancer researchers. “I think the focus should be on giving research dollars to younger researchers who can think out of the box and still believe they can do anything,” he said. “They are more passionate about thinking in different ways. This is true in business as well. That resonated with me a great deal.”
By joining Cornerstone, Mr. Muller is helping to build a strong future for cancer research. “A person who has the experience of finality with cancer should attempt to direct his or her dollars to those organizations that are thrifty and focused on funding quality, innovative, state-of-the-art research,” he remarked. “I believe that CCF and ASCO have that as a mantra…as long as CCF and ASCO continue to spend 87% on programs and research, they will be premier organizations.”
For information about Cornerstone, please visit www.conquercancerfoundation.org/cornerstone. ■
© 2015. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.