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Life-saving Pancreatic Cancer Cure for Pete Z

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Life-saving Pancreatic Cancer Cure for Pete Zeldman

Who?

My name is Cindy Shapiro and I’ve been close, personal friends with Pete Zeldman for the last 40 years. Here we are in our first band together in NYC, The Card Game. Pete on the left:



He is, without a doubt and without hyperbole, one of the greatest living musicians on planet Earth.

Click here to experience some of his incredible polyrhythmic work:



He has played with some of the greatest musicians of our times like Steve Vai, Sonny Stitt, Clark Terry, Jimmy Ponder, Lee Konitz, Slide Hampton and Lou Soloff. He counts Vinnie Colaiuta, Terry Bozzio, Tony Newton and Kenwood Dennard among his friends and peers who understand and venerate the extraordinary, high-concept rhythmic work he does.

But that is not all that makes him great — he is a wonderful friend; a hilarious re-teller of B-horror movies and old TV tropes; a skilled line artist of psychedelic drawings which you may have seen on his Facebook feed; a sensitive, enlightening teacher who has been giving back to the music community and up-and-coming young musicians for years; and he is also Cheryl’s loving husband and partner of 20 years living in England outside of London.

The What?

In March of 2021 Pete was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.

It started with a pain behind his ribs. The NHS (the UK's National Health Service) doctor whom he saw for it first “fast-tracked” him for pancreatic cancer treatment, but then for some reason decided to remove Pete off the fast-track, thinking he didn’t actually have this cancer. Unfortunately, that doctor erred and Pete lost precious time. Soon, it became clear that Pete did have pancreatic cancer. Fortunately, Pete then found an extremely well-regarded oncologist with the NHS to take over his case.

At first it looked like he was inoperable. He was put on a 3-month course of chemo to try to shrink the tumor in hopes of becoming operable. After 3-months, the tumor hadn’t shrunk, but his cancer markers had improved so much that the oncologist decided to go another three months to see if they could shrink the tumor enough to make him operable and thus remove this cancerous tumor.

AND THEY DID.

His highly complex surgery was set for last December 21, 2021. The surgery, by the surgeon’s direct account, was reported to be a great success. They had gotten through to the margins of the cancer and eliminated everything they could see. As Pete convalesced from the brutality of the surgery (and learned what he would have to do for the rest of his life without a spleen), his doctors marveled at his miraculous recovery. He was told:

Go home, open a bottle of wine and celebrate - you’ve beaten this thing!

The plan going forward was to do routine scans every 4 months for the rest of his life, with the expectation that he would be clear and cancer-free and live out the rest of his days emanating his genius for the rest of us to receive and try to grasp (which we all struggle to do).

Sadly, at the very first 4-month scan in April of 2022, his oncologist was shocked and personally dismayed to see that the cancer was back and that it had metastasized to his liver and lungs. There was only one treatment available from the NHS — a new and more vicious course of chemo that is keeping him alive but is not something that will take him on a trajectory towards surgery or any other life-saving intervention. Pete has remained with us for the last 6 months via this barbaric chemotherapy protocol, which poisoned him and has landed him in the hospital with sepsis more than once.

The Where?

Because one of my personal specialities is finding needles in the internet haystack, I found a possible CURE for Pete’s type of pancreatic cancer. That’s right, you read that correctly: A CURE…

There are cutting-edge approaches to cancer that seem like they are a far-off dream only realized some time in the future, but in fact, they are happening right now. These treatments are custom-designed for each individual patient not based on their type of cancer but on the patient’s own specific cancer cells. The treatment is derived from their own immune system T-cells, or if their T-cells are dormant, they are able to formulate a vaccine based on the patient’s mRNA. Labs in the United States that are working on these treatments are charging $500K TO $1M. But with some research into which labs/hospitals/universities are doing this type of work in Europe, we found one in Tübingen, Germany for far less. The costs is around €76k.


The When?

PETE NOW HAS A CHANCE TO TRULY CURE HIS CANCER!

If everything falls into place the way we think it will, Pete will be 100% cancer free and will live his life on the path he was on before he became ill. All of his suffering will not have been for naught. He will continue to be with us.

Now is the time. He has finished the punishing chemo to get his numbers under control and it’s finally time to start this process in the Tübingen program.

We are at the point in his treatment that we are turning to our community and beyond to help us save our beautiful friend and this gifted once-in-a-generation musical genius.

The How?

The potential cure is the formulation of an anti-cancer peptide vaccine. Individualized tumor neoantigen-targeting peptide vaccination is a promising approach tested in clinical trials. It serves as an additional treatment to conventional anti-tumor therapy and may be continued as a long-term therapy option. The vaccine produced will train and activate the immune system to recognize and destroy tumor cells. Generally speaking, the process is done in 2 steps:

Phase 1: The lab in Tübingen will perform a thorough genetic analysis of Pete’s tumor cells. (Timeframe: 4-6 weeks)
Cost: €16,000

Phase 2: An individual peptide vaccine is produced and administered over a period of 1 year. (Timeframe: 12-14 weeks to produce the individualized vaccines; then 4 vaccines given within 10-12 days; then 10 vaccinations given over the course the rest of the year. Blood is drawn at each visit to the Tübingen lab to monitor the efficacy of the treatment.
Cost: €60,450

Other costs: several trips back and forth to Tübingen from London. Estimated 12-15 trips at €600 each or €9000.

Total Cost of Treatment: €85,450 - at total exchange rate: $90,861.

The Why?

Pete is an exceptionally private person, so you may not know just how intense his personal hell and torture with this disease the last couple of years has been. He has been courageous and defiant! He desperately wants to live and continue teaching and sharing his many gifts. Of course, with any cutting edge treatment, insurance doesn’t apply. It’s up to the patient to pay on their own. It’s time for us to give what we can to help Pete finance this treatment.

AND it’s the giving season and time for me to help Pete by bringing in his community, who I know will encircle him with love and help him in his quest to live.

Even though this is not nearly the cost of what it would be in the US, it’s still far more money than most anyone can bear alone. And so I’m asking you to give whatever you can - no matter how small - to help save Pete’s life so he can continue to give back as a teacher and mentor and live out his days naturally.

I am asking you as one of the circle of friends, family and admirers of this brilliant musician and mensch of a person:

Can you help us help him finance this CURE at Tübingen? Let’s take the stress of paying for this cure off of his shoulders so Pete can focus on healing in 2023.

Thank you for whatever you can spare. No gift is too small and your words of encouragement and love are so important as well.

All my love to you and yours during this holiday season!

Cindy Shapiro

Donations 

  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Karen Kapinos
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Judy Crosby
    • $50 
    • 1 yr

Fundraising team (3)

Cindy Shapiro
Organizer
Raised $12,333 from 32 donations
Los Angeles, CA
Cheryl Seward
Team member
Raised $932 from 5 donations
Jack Wall
Team member
Raised $75 from 2 donations
This team raised $28,303 from 203 other donations.

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