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Sunday, 24 December 2017

Debbie Zelman, the lady who fought to find a cure for stomach cancer, dies at 50

Debbie Zelman, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2008, created Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer, in 2009 to bring awareness to the disease, provide support to patients and caregivers, and raise money for research, has died at the age of 50 on December 23, 2017, having raised thousands of dollars internationally.
Zelman died in Plantation, where she was born and raised. But she did so much in the last decade of her life for others who face stomach cancer not only locally but the world over.

Her 50th birthday party alone, which doubled as the third Annual Dream Big Luncheon, raised over $80,000 to fund stomach cancer research and benefit stomach cancer patients, said her friend Susie Bond, a former board member and communications chairperson for Debbie’s Dream Foundation.

Zelman was determined to fight hard the minute doctors broke the news a decade ago. Her youngest daughter, Sarah, was only 3 at the time. She was worried Sarah, now 12, would be too young to even remember her.
Zelman assembled a team of 31 medical experts to serve as the foundation’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. Since 2013, the foundation has awarded eight grants totaling $650,000 in funding to scientists across the country. The foundation is working on an additional grant that would bring that total to $700,000 in early 2018.

Every February, Zelman and her team traveled to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress for more stomach cancer research funding. Between fiscal years 2015 and 2016, the Department of Defense allocated about $12 million for stomach cancer research. For 2017, stomach cancer research received another $6 million.

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