Pennies in Action® was founded in 2007 by Uschi Keszler - Olympic athlete, Olympic coach, and double cancer survivor. Having survived and seen the conquering of tuberculosis in her youth, and now as a survivor of both breast and uterine cancer, Uschi is determined to see cancer beaten in her lifetime too.
As an elite athlete, Uschi was aware of the power and resiliency of the human body. So when she decided to help find a way to beat cancer, she knew that she could not support something that would destroy the body in order to heal it. Finding out that her surgeon was already in clinical trials of a vaccine that utilizes the patient’s own immune system to fight breast cancer, she knew she had found her first project. Dr. Brian Czerniecki’s research is a perfect fit with Uschi’s goals and her philosophy. Uschi was not a trial participant herself, having not fit the trial criteria.
Pennies in Action is about more than just raising funds for cancer research – Uschi has a strong belief that everyone, young and old, rich and poor, those with health insurance, and those without, can have ownership in the research. One does not have to be wealthy to have an impact on raising funding. The amount one person may give may be relatively insignificant, for a penny alone has little value, but many pennies make many dollars. Success in funding the research and the power to make a difference can come from just a few pennies if everyone takes part in even a small way.
We are also about education – we want patients touched by cancer to know that there are alternatives available. We want people to know that there is information, and many clinical trials out there that they may be able to benefit from. We want them to be able to discuss with their doctors if a trial might be something they could participate in, to their potential benefit, and the eventual benefit of others. We want them to know that taking part in a trial may save them from having to undergo more drastic solutions, and may help save the lives and quality of life for others as well as themselves. Doctors learn so much from these trials, and the medicine just grows in leaps and bounds. We strongly believe that an educated public will provide the foundation for researchers to conquer this disease.
Cancer is not impersonal, and it has touched many people’s lives in some way. Which is why our approach is very personal. We believe our approach has the potential to empower by keeping people informed of both the progress in the research and the advancement in the financial support of the research. Since all those who contribute from few pennies to more hold a concrete stake in the research that can remove cancer as a threat, Uschi believes that full disclosure must be the norm. Which is why we disclose the amount we have raised so obviously, and give information on the researchers and their research, and on the efforts of those who help us in raising funds.
In addition to our main project, we will always take on other causes that are close to Uschi’s heart, and will fund those alongside that main project.
Mark Gentile, Esquire
Joe Redfearn, VP for global sales, Resonant Medical
Stephen B. Blumenthal, President, CEO, CMG Capital Management Group, Inc.
Shepherd Clark Founder/President of S.H.O.W (Shepherd Hope Organization Worldwide)
Brian Orser, O.C., World Champion
Isabelle Brasseur, World Champion
Randy Gardner, World Champion
Natalya Linichuk, Olympic Champion
Gennadiy Karponosov, Olympic Champion
Jim Watson, Stanley Cup Winner
Stephane Charbonneau, NHL Player
Tanith Belbin, Olympic Silver Medallist
Benjamin Agosto, Olympic Silver Medallist
Josee Piccard, World & Olympic Coach
Stash Serafin, Blind Figure Skater
Jane Bazinet, Internationally Renowned Artist
Ingo Steuer, World Champion & World Coach
Oksana Grishuk, Olympic Champion
Evgeny Platov, Olympic Champion
Gary Visconti, World Team Member
Tanja Szewczenko, Star of stage, film, and TV, World Medallist, & Olympic Competitor
Alexander Zhulin, World Champion, Olympic Medallist, & Olympic Coach
Lloyd Eisler, B.P.E., M.S.M., World Champion
Brian Boitano, Olympic Champion
Elizabeth Manley, C.M., Olympic Medallist