Aretha Franklin’s death is inspiring research funding a year later

Posted at 7:45 PM, Aug 16, 2019

A year after a rare form of cancer ended the life of legendary singer Aretha Franklin, her memory is inspiring more funding to try to find a cure.

The Aretha Franklin Fund for Neuroendocrine Cancer Research has been launched by the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) in Boston, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Franklindied on August 16, 2018 from the disease.

“A lot of the work we fund is basic science in the laboratory, learning why these tumors grow and spread,” Elyse Gellerman, chief executive officer of NETRF, told the publication. “We don’t know all the answers about that. Researchers are trying to understand these tumors at a cellular level and — with some of the treatments available — why some patients respond and others do not.”

The singer was intensely private about her personal life, including her health, and it was initially reported that she died of pancreatic cancer.

Neuroendocrine tumors afflict about 171,000 people in the United States and it’s an often-misunderstood disease.

Apple mogul Steve Jobs also died from the rare form of cancer in 2011 and Gellerman said neuroendocrine tumors make up just 7% of cancers in the pancreas.

Pancreatic cancer is actually a different form of cancer known as pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Detroit’s Women’s Informal Network gave $1,500 to the newly formed fund.

Sabrina Owens, Aretha Franklin‘s niece, participated in a ceremony to present the donation and said in a statement“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.”

“We encourage her friends, fans, and supporters to consider contributing to this cause, until such time as we can eradicate NETs,” Owens said. “We believe this is possible. Become a Believer and join us in this effort!”