Our Goals and Accomplishments
ECAN’s mission is to save lives by increasing awareness about the link between Heartburn and Cancer, promoting early detection and supporting medical innovation to prevent, detect and treat Esophageal Cancer. This national non-profit organization, based in Baltimore, is led by a board of directors of top physicians, business leaders, and families that have been touched by Esophageal Cancer.
History: ECAN was founded in 2009 by Mindy Mintz Mordecai and an impressive group of dedicated professionals after she lost her husband of 14 years to Esophageal Cancer. Angry and frustrated because she believes that her husband and thousands more like him might never have died had they been aware of the link between Heartburn and Cancer, Mordecai is determined to prevent others from suffering the pain Esophageal Cancer has caused her family.
Accomplishments: Over the past 4 years, ECAN has made significant strides in the fight against Esophageal Cancer. Among ECAN’s successes:
A Guide for Patients: In July 2012, ECAN published an innovative Guide for Patients providing comprehensive and clear information about the link between Heartburn and Cancer. The guide is designed to help patients advocate for their own health care and is available as a free download from the ECAN website. ECAN has partnered with libraries around the nation to host information sessions and distribute bookmarks to library patrons bearing key risk factors and a QR code linking to a free download of the Guide.
Critical Research: ECAN successfully advocated with the National Cancer Institute to change course and include Esophageal Cancer in its groundbreaking genome mapping project known as the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).
Legendary Partnership: In April 2012, ECAN partnered with the estate of film icon Humphrey Bogart whose life was cut short in 1957 by Esophageal Cancer. In May 2013, at the First Annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival in Key Largo, Florida, the partnership launched Screenings for Screenings. In movie trailers produced by ECAN, Bogart’s son Stephen encouraged those at risk for Esophageal Cancer to “get checked.” The trailers, which featured clips from iconic Bogart films and included the message “Here’s Looking at You,” were shown prior to each movie screened before the crowd of 3,000 who attended the event. The Estate is now working with ECAN to develop a more robust nationwide public awareness campaign to encourage early detection of Esophageal Cancer.
Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month: ECAN led the effort to have April designated as Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month in states throughout the nation. In 2009, Maryland Gov. O’Malley declared April Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month. With ECAN’s support over the past 4 years, more than 110 gubernatorial declarations of EC Awareness Month have been achieved throughout the country and April is now observed as EC Awareness Month by companies, organizations and governments across the nation.
Events that make a Difference: ECAN continues to sponsor its annual dance event, the Cancer Dancer. In April 2012, ECAN hosted the first Gala ever held in the U.S. to focus on Esophageal Cancer advocacy. Former California Congresswoman and Under Secretary of State Ellen O. Tauscher moved the crowd of nearly 300 with her story of survival of stage III Esophageal Cancer. In 2013, Tauscher served as Honorary Chair of the Cancer Dancer Gala, which attracted a larger audience and raised more than $110,000 in support of ECAN’s life-saving mission. In 2014, the Cancer Dancer Gala will take place on April 5th at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel with special guest Stephen Bogart.
ECAN sponsors and supports multiple fundraising and awareness events around the country including runs, bike rides, dinners, speaking events, art shows and more. ECAN volunteers have hosted more than 50 events in cities and towns across the United States since 2010.