Cancer Awareness, Research, Prevention & Education


Vol. 3: Fall 2022

Presented By

MHF Logo_Transparent.png

Welcome to C.A.R.P.E. DIEM

A collaborative effort to raise cancer awareness

 -Brett Hartigan, Monica Hill, Sara Svendsen-

There's news to celebrate in the cancer world and we're here to break it down just in time for

our favorite season - No-Shave November, of course! 

C.A.R.P.E Diem has it all this quarter... you're going to want to keep reading! 


Over the Moon

The Cancer Moonshot program was initially launched in 2016. Its goals were to accelerate scientific discovery in cancer, foster greater collaboration amongst researchers, and improve the sharing of cancer data. Recently, President Biden reignited the federal government’s commitment to this pivotal program in hopes of further benefiting the lives of the American people. 

This reaffirmation of the Cancer Moonshot program comes with an impressive new set of goals. Goals like reducing the cancer death rate by half within the next 25 years, and improving the lives of cancer survivors as well as those still battling the disease. To achieve these ambitious goals, a new group of patients, advocates, researchers, and clinicians have all been brought on board to help eradicate cancer as we know it.

At the center of this program is the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In the past, NCI supported over 250 research projects that helped achieve the goals of the original Cancer Moonshot program. This collaboration accelerated cancer-related discoveries and expanded data sharing among the different research communities. NCI is now refocused and has already begun to lend its support to the program's new goals.

New Year, New Goals

  1. The first order of business is to expand and modernize clinical cancer trials. The purpose of these trials is to evaluate new cancer prevention methods, screenings, and treatment approaches. They also play a fundamental role in the creation of cancer drugs and devices. 
  2. NCI aims to increase the funds for a number of research proposals in hopes of developing a deeper understanding of cancer’s complex biology. This will unlock new strategies for researchers and help them prevent, screen for, diagnose, and ultimately treat many forms of cancer.
  3. To better understand and address barriers that prevent effective treatments, NCI has emphasized the need for expanding research in the field of implementation science. By doing this, researchers will learn how to overcome these barriers so that all patients will be able to benefit from any new cancer advancements or research.
  4. Finally, NCI plans to emphasize a greater importance on diversity in the cancer research workforce. Doing this helps open the door to a variety of new doctors and researchers with all different backgrounds.

Programming Upgrade

Along with the plethora of updated goals come several new programs. Each of these programs were designed to help accelerate cancer’s downfall. The Vanguard Study is a four-year pilot program focused on evaluating multi-cancer detection tests and screenings. The goal is to discover any potential danger to the patient and determine whether these tests can detect cancer early enough to reduce death rates. The Cancer Moonshot Scholars is a grant-based program concentrated on developing a robust cancer research workforce that truly represents our diverse population. Last, but far from least, NCI plans to donate $23 million to the Telehealth Research Center of Excellence Program. Over the next five years, four different academic research institutions will benefit from this much-needed infusion of funds. This money will be used to evaluate Telehealth, which was used primarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will evaluate whether these practices will continue to improve patient access, care, and communication in an in-person clinical environment.

Learn more about the Cancer Moonshot program here.

Unlikely Allies:

You Have a [Reluctant] Friend in Me

Hello there, and welcome back to my laboratory *moderately evil laughter*! It is I, you're reliable and only slightly mad scientist, and I have returned to bring you, my dear reader, another round of Unlikely Allies. Today’s study shines the spotlight on perhaps the ugliest potential weapon against cancer yet, herpes.

The pandemic taught us that we should always be stocked up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer, it also reminded us that viruses are one of humanity’s oldest and deadliest enemies. But as the old verbiage says, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and the RP2 Trial aimed to put that theory to the test.

These researchers may have achieved the impossible and found a way to make a virus as reviled as herpes, useful. A tall task to be sure, and one that just may have dire consequences for cancer.

There were 30 patients in total who participated in this experiment, each suffering from a variety of different cancers like skin, eye, head, and neck cancer. Before this trial, many of the participating patients were told that they were out of options. The trial itself would consist of an injection every two weeks for 6 weeks for a total of three doses. The injections themselves contained a modified form of the herpes simplex virus that was engineered to attack and kill tumors. 

The virus was designed with two functions, the first being to multiply inside the cancer cells and burst cancer from within. The second was to block a protein known as CTLA-4. Blocking this particular protein helps strengthen the immune system and increases its ability to kill cancer cells. Three out of the nine patients of the RP2 trial saw their tumors shrink, and seven out of thirty started to see positive results after receiving immunotherapy along with the injections. A rare but encouraging response rate for such an early stage in a clinical trial. One patient in particular who was diagnosed with gland cancer and was on end-of-life care became cancer free as a result of this trial.

“Our study shows that a genetically engineered, cancer-killing virus can deliver a one-two punch against tumors-directly destroying cancer cells from within while also calling in the immune system against them,” said the study leader Professor Kevin Harrington. Obviously, more research and tests are required but these early results suggest that this form of the herpes virus could potentially become a new and valuable treatment option for patients with advanced cancers. This is another example of why we mustn’t shy away from the strange or even the unexplainable. Cures and allies can be found in the strangest of places, they may even be found in enemies.

Want to learn more about this de-activated, cancer-killing herp? Check out this link.


Let's Meet Some of This Years Players

Every year No-Shave November partners up with a group of dedicated and hardworking nonprofits. Throughout the campaign, No-Shavers get to choose from among these participating nonprofits who the patron for their donations will be. This year we wanted to try something new and give you the opportunity to learn more about these amazing organizations. Hopefully, the insight you gain here will help you make the best-informed decision. If you can’t decide, because they are all equally amazing, you can always donate to the No-Shave November General Fund. At the end of the campaign, we split up the total donated amount equally amongst all of the nonprofits.

When Valerie Guild lost her beloved 26-year-old daughter Charlie to melanoma in late 2003,

she vowed to help find the cure for the disease that took her daughter and founded AIM at Melanoma as the vehicle to do so. 

Melanoma is both a survivable and a deadly cancer—the key is how early it is found. Five-year survival rates for the earliest stage melanomas are as high as 99%. But melanoma grows fast, can be hard to spot, and is often painless—at least for a period of time. 

Melanoma that has spread to distant sites in the body has a five-year survival rate of 30%. And this figure is a vast improvement over ten years ago when late-stage melanoma survival rates hovered around 15-20%. Research has been critical to this increase in survivability.

Over the last two decades, AIM at Melanoma has grown to be a global foundation that directs and funds paradigm-shifting research initiatives; educates patients, healthcare professionals, and the public; and advocates for survivors and their families. In Val’s words, AIM tackles the “hard stuff”—projects that are deemed critical for progressing research but also considered too difficult to accomplish.

Val Guild died on May 21, 2020. AIM’s staff—including her daughter, Samantha, who is now President—continue her work in her memory, with absolute resolve, as she had, to help find the cure for melanoma in our lifetime while improving the lives of those it affects.

For people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other blood disorders like sickle cell, a cure exists. Be The Match® connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving stem cell transplant. Your support of Be The Match provides a second chance at life for patients like Arlie.

At just 2 years old Arlie was diagnosed with Leukemia. She had always been a healthy child, so when she started feeling sick her parents took her to the doctor right away. In just three weeks, Arlie had four perfect matches on the Be The Match Registry®️ and thankfully, one was a perfect match and was eager to help. After following a treatment of low-body radiation, Arlie received her marrow transplant and got her second chance at life—thanks to her amazing donor, Ryan.


Your fundraising or financial donation to Be The Match adds more potential lifesavers to the Be The Match registry, provides patient financial assistance to cover uninsured costs, and funds research to improve patient outcomes.


Read more about Arlie’s story here.

Over half a million people in the US live with kidney cancer and 79,000 people will receive a new diagnosis this year alone. For more than 30 years, the Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) has stood for excellence in research and education as well as thoughtful, patient-driven services for the kidney cancer community. 

 The KCA is committed to being a global community dedicated to supporting and empowering patients and caregivers and leading change through education, research, and advocacy. The following are just some of the resources KCA makes available for anyone to use.

  • Patient Navigator Program – Receive one-on-one support from our Patient Liaison including help finding a specialist, treatment questions, local support, financial information, and more. 
  • Just Diagnosed Toolkit – A step-by-step guide to all the information and decisions that go along with a new kidney cancer diagnosis. 
  • KCA Connect – Join our monthly peer-led virtual support group and meet others who are also going through kidney cancer. 

Choose to celebrate No-Shave November with KCA and help raise funds and awareness for kidney cancer! 

The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) is committed to exploring all viable paths to cures for all types of cancer.  This approach is what differentiates them from other cancer research foundations. The following inspirational survival story is brought to you by the incredibly resourceful people at the National Foundation for Cancer Research.


Sarah Byrd was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 29.  She was scared she was going to die.  Fortunately, she received treatment from NFCR-funded Dr. Curt Civin that saved her life and enabled her to go on and live a normal life.  At the time she received her treatment, Dr. Civin’s area of expertise was still new, and in an area that other funding sources may consider too risky. 


You can learn more about Sarah’s story by watch this clip on YouTube.


NFCR is committed to addressing the unmet needs in the cancer community by funding innovative research that can combat these significant challenges. This year you can be a part of that and help NFCR make more life changing breakthroughs.


Breakthroughs like understanding Metastasis. Metastasis, or the spread of cancer, is responsible for 90% of cancer deaths.  If NFCR can stop Metastasis or recognize which patients are more susceptible to having their cancer spread, they can significantly improve these outcomes.  NFCR has provided long-term funding to Dr. Danny Welch of the University of Kansas Cancer Center.  Dr. Welch is considered an expert in Metastasis.  His team has identified several metastasis suppressor genes - a positive step toward improving metastatic cancer outcomes.                                       


You can learn more about  Metastasis by watching this clip. 

Another organization we would like to shed some light on is the National LGBT Cancer Network, and more specifically, its Cancer Leaders Like Us program!

This program is specifically for LGBTQ+ and/or students of color who are thinking about pursuing careers in LGBTQ+ health and cancer. The program is free and open to undergrad, graduate students, and early career professionals and will offer: 


  • Career talks: Insight from a range of professionals, including doctors, researchers, policy experts, etc. working in the cancer field and stories about their personal career journey and successes
  • Skill building: Leadership and development opportunities
  • Networking opportunities: Connection to a network of advanced career professionals and a cohort of emerging leaders  
  • Internships: Access a bank of resources and career-advancing opportunities


The National LGBT Cancer Network would like to make this program available to:


  1. Students, who would like support as they continue their education and move into career fields.
  2. Professionals, who work in this field who identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ and would be interested in supporting our emerging leaders through providing mentorship, professional development opportunities, or other resources.


If you are Interested in being a part of this program, you can sign-up to learn more by visiting this link. 

If you would like to learn more about this year's other participating nonprofits please see the click their logos that are linked to their respective websites. Each organization does amazing work and is absolutely worthy of your patronage! 


...does it even matter?

It seems like every time you turn around, there is something new that causes cancer; and medical opinions keep changing about what works and what doesn’t. Not only can it be exhausting, it makes you wonder…what’s the point of awareness, research, prevention, and education? Does it even matter?

The short answer is yes, it does matter.

"Nearly 15 years ago, Matthew Hill passed away from colorectal cancer after fighting for 19 months to stop the disease from spreading.  He was my father and someone I thought was too kind, caring, and selfless to ever have to worry about such a debilitating health issue.  At the time of his diagnosis and shortly after his colon resection, I thought he would live a long, healthy life. Halfway through treatments he was thought to be in remission, only to find out weeks later that the cancer had spread. As the second oldest of eight children, I wasn’t even old enough to drink and now I had to understand and cope with losing a parent far too young.  Since his passing, I’ve come to realize the importance of my dad’s battle with cancer. We channeled our sadness and grief into a campaign of hope and change for those who may be going through a similar situation.

No-Shave November was not started solely to raise awareness and funds. We wanted others to start a conversation by growing hair that’s normally shaven or well-maintained. My dad worked in banking for over 30 years and shaved almost every single morning, except for long holiday weekends and vacations. Secretly, I believe he really liked the unshaven look. The month of November is a time to celebrate and embrace the hair cancer patients might lose during treatments. Talk about why you’re participating with friends and family. Continue to destigmatize the old way of dealing (or not dealing) with cancer by sharing stories or encouraging others to join in your fundraising goals. My dad never would have dreamt his name would be associated with such an inspiring cause. He would, however, applaud the hard work as well as the generous donations made to No-Shave November and Matthew Hill Foundation, Inc., and the lives we have changed throughout the years.  Thank you for letting me share my story."

-Nicholas Hill, Co-Founder MHF, Inc

Hairy Fact: 

In the Victorian era, doctors prescribed beards as a way to prevent illness.

You know how you get crumbs in your beard before they make it to your mouth?

Same thought, except the docs thought it would trap disease before it entered the body. The more ya know! 

Interested in sponsoring

C.A.R.P.E. Diem 

by Matthew Hill Foundation?

Send us an email! 

Support No-Shave November and C.A.R.P.E. Diem today!

You are helping to make a difference in the world of cancer. 

Donate Now



Matthew Hill Foundation, Inc.

2340 Powell Street #293

Emeryville, CA 94608

Fax: (510) 255-6073

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Disclaimer: This newsletter is not intended to provide medical advice. The content provided is for informational purposes only. No material in this newsletter is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding cancer or any other material mentioned in this newsletter.