Late legendary songstress Aretha Franklin left an indelible mark on music and now a year after her death her loved ones are hoping that her legacy will have an impact in the realm of medicine. According to the Detroit Free Press, Franklin’s estate is backing a new research fund to find a cure for the rare form of pancreatic cancer that the singer battled with.
The initiative—named The Aretha Franklin Fund for Neuroendocrine Cancer Research—was established by the Boston-based Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation. Through the project, medical professionals will explore the causes of neuroendocrine tumors to find a cure. Leaders of the initiative hope to raise $300,000 by 2020. “One of the characteristics of neuroendocrine tumors is that they can appear anywhere in the body — most commonly in the pancreas, small intestines and lungs — and they present very differently,” Elyse Gellerman, CEO, NETRF told the news outlet. “So while we do have treatments and approaches that physicians can use, we don’t have cures for every patient. That’s why the research we fund is so important.” Gellerman added that NETRF is seeking support from individuals and companies in the music industry as well as corporate sponsors.
Members of Franklin’s family say that this initiative is an impactful way to honor her legacy and help others who are going through the same battle. “The Aretha Franklin Family is honored to partner with the NETRF to help raise funding for education and research of this devastating disease that takes our loved ones much too soon,” Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens said in a statement. “We encourage her friends, fans, and supporters to consider contributing to this cause, until such time as we can eradicate NETs. We believe this is possible. Become a Believer and join us in this effort!”
Aretha Franklin was reportedly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010. She succumbed to her battle with the disease on August 16, 2018. There is a major need for research surrounding neuroendocrine tumors as they affect 171,000 people in the U.S. and there remains a lack of information regarding the causes.