• Volunteer of the Month
  • You did it!
  • Team CCF Update
  • Awareness Store News
  • Volunteers Needed
Volunteer of the Month
Each month we will recognize those whose contributions inspire us and who demonstrate excellence in their service to others. This award was created to thank those outstanding individuals and to bring to light the immense efforts, time and resources that are generously given to the Foundation.
Judith McBrien, second from left, pictured with the CARE Team at the 6th Annual Conference in Salt Lake City.
Judith ready to cheer on Team CCF at the Chicago Marathon.
Judith McBrien
Judith McBrien is a writer and a film producer. She studied architectural history at Columbia University and received an MBA from Yale University. She lectures widely about architecture, landscapes, history and design and enjoys research.

Judith has been involved with the Foundation for over five years. She first learned of the Foundation after her son was diagnosed. Judith began to seek information about treatments for her son and soon met patient advocates, of the Foundation, over the phone. She attended her first annual conference in 2015, and was happy to volunteer in any capacity. Melinda Bachini, Advocacy Coordinator, shares, “She has always been willing to jump in and do any task asked of her.” Several of those tasks have been no small feat. Her volunteer contributions have led to extraordinary achievements.

Judith helped to co-write a PCORI grant, which the Foundation has maintained for four consecutive years, that provides patient support through scholarships. Judith’s work was instrumental in obtaining this grant that allows patients to attend the annual conference and take a direct stake in their own medical care. With patients present they are able to provide firsthand input and concerns to the medical and scientific communities in attendance. 

She has been actively involved with the CARE Team and has initiated educational opportunities at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University with their departments of GI Oncology, all in hopes of spreading awareness. She facilitated a mini-symposium in Chicago and graciously opened her home to other Foundation volunteers. Judith has worked to fundraise, has attended ASCO representing the Foundation, has been one of Team CCF’s biggest cheerleaders, is a caregiver advocate on the International Cholangiocarcinoma Research Network, a new Nursing Advisory Board member, and is currently working to help streamline clinical trial surveys to make them more user friendly for patients and families.

It is a great honor and privilege for the Foundation to recognize Judith McBrien as the Volunteer of the Month!
You did it!
Catherine and Mike Griffin share the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation awareness bracelet with Pope Francis.
Laurel Mason, a Social Media Team volunteer, and Dr. Fei Mao at Biotium Inc. in Fremont, CA.
Dr. Fei Mao is a scientist with a passion for trying something new. He received his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Oregon. He is President and CTO of Biotium Inc., an industry leader in fluorescent molecular reagents and Chief Chemist and Founder of Neurocentria, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company founded with the mission to cure neurological diseases including Alzheimers, Schizophrenia and Adult ADHD. 

He first learned of cholangiocarcinoma when one of his employees, Laurel Mason, was diagnosed with the cancer while he was on a family vacation. He remembers receiving the text message, and was devastated by the news. Dr. Mao considered her a part of his work family. They have spent many hours together and Laurel has been key in the success of the business. 

With his research in creating ultra sensitive fluorescent dyes for gene sequencing, he has been inspired to work on a new line of even more sensitive dyes to help fight this disease. These fluorescent dyes help in three critical aspects of medical science - the basic research and fundamental understanding of biology, the diagnosis of disease, and the pharmaceutical science which helps cure disease. 

The fluorescent dyes are like smart molecules that can go directly to cell specified targets and light up. The fluorescent molecules help to visualize the structure and are created in all different colors. The dyes also allow scientists to monitor living cells and study healthy activity versus diseased activity and how it responds to targeted pharmacology. The dyes must be extraordinarily sensitive - in cancer’s case we might be trying to target one cell out of five million healthy cells. 

Dr. Mao is extremely excited about how his research, and collaborations, will be able to help future early cancer detections. He has worked extensively with the University of Oregon as well as the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in Portland and knows success rates increase 7- 10 times when cancer is detected early. 

Ilumina, a San Diego based company, uses Dr. Mao’s licensed dyes. Ilumina plans to reduce the cost of sequencing down to $100. Dr. Mao believes that personalizing medicine is the key. It is the future of medicine. Instead of monitoring blood pressure at office visits, you will soon be sequencing DNA for less than the cost of an office visit. 

Dr. Mao now feels personally connected to fighting cancer. He also feels confident that there is hope on the horizon. This connection to cholangiocarcinoma has triggered his inspiration and research, and he is extremely excited about the future and finding a cure.
Team CCF Update
The running season has kicked into high gear. The Chicago Marathon team began their training June 10. The New York City Marathon team will begin July 1. Both teams are excited and full of energy. 
Contact  Meredith.mcguffage@cholangiocarcinoma.org  to join or for more information.
TeamCCF is looking to recruit runners for our upcoming Fall races.
Sept. 29, 2019

Nov. 9, 2019
Nov. 23 - 24, 2019
Awareness Store News
Would you like to join us in our annual Campaign for the Cure and help spread awareness? Visit our Awareness Store..
Weekly savings the entire month of July!


July 1-6th
Use code: 4THECURE
Volunteers Needed
CARE Team Members

  • CARE Team Members work to positively impact the lives of cholangiocarcinoma patients through advocacy, research and education. Key responsibilities include helping spread awareness in communities - including local events, hospitals and clinics; creating, attending and supporting local fundraising efforts; and educating others about the cancer, research and clinical trials available.

Please email cindy.thomas@cholangiocarcinoma.org with interest in this position.

Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation | (888) 936-6731 | info@cholangiocarcinoma.org | cholangiocarcinoma.org