UPMC Melanoma Research Gets Financial Boost from Woiner Foundation of Pittsburgh
The Woiner Foundation was established in 2013 by husband-and-wife team Ric and Jessica Fera, along with Jessica’s mother, Rita Woiner. The group pledged to fight melanoma and pancreatic cancer in memory of Jessica’s father, Tim Woiner, who died of melanoma in 2010; and in honor of Ric, a two-time melanoma survivor; and Rita, who died in 2014 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Under Kirkwood’s direction, more than 20 faculty researchers are leading multiple local, national and international studies that are advancing new therapies for the treatment of melanoma, a cancer that kills more than 7,000 people in the United States each year. Kirkwood leads a number of highly promising clinical trials with cancer vaccines to spur the body’s own immune system into recognizing and destroying melanoma.
“The Woiner Foundation’s commitment allows us to support new investigators who are the future of melanoma research, prevention and treatment,” said Kirkwood. “Our trainees now are running melanoma programs across the country, as well as in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.”
Funds are raised through two annual events: The Tim & Rita Woiner Memorial Golf Outing in June and the 3-2-1 Ride held in October, a family friendly bike ride event that attracts more than 500 participants at Heinz Field each year.
Proceeds from all Woiner Foundation events are split between the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Kirkwood’s work, and the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer and the work of Jim Moser, M.D.