A foundation funding a Sanibel man’s cancer research made an announcement Friday. Officials said the Foundation is dissolving five years after the man died and it’s giving part of its left over funds to Lee Memorial’s Regional Cancer Center.
The Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation is fulfilling some of John Kanzius’ last wishes by dispersing funds to a cancer center in Southwest Florida. Kanzius, who retired in Sanibel, wanted his research to live on in the places he spent his life.
“On John’s deathbed, he made a very sensitive plea and that was that the communities of Eerie and Southwest Florida wouldn’t be forgotten,” said Mark Neidig, the Foundation’s executive director.
Southwest Florida is also where Kanzius was diagnosed with leukemia and spent years testing a theory he had. Kanzius believed highly-concentrated radio waves could kill cancer cells without also killing healthy cells. Recently, the Foundation announced it met its goal of funding Kanzius’ research to the point of human trials, which will eventually take place in Eerie, Pennsylvania and Fort Myers.
Neidig said the foundation’s donors—many of which are from the Fort Myers area—are relieved the community is going to stay involved in this research.
“I’ve talked to audiences in both the towns where the trials will take place,” he said. “Even today talking to several people that came for the presentation, their excited that we’ve reached this plateau, that they were a part of that, and to keep it going.”
One of those donors is Lynn Sistisommer of North Fort Myers. She’s been donating to the Foundation for about seven years now. Sistisommer said she’s happy the Foundation kept its promise.
“When you see a lot of organizations start, sometimes it fizzles before it really gets off the ground,” she said. “They have been really focused, they put their energies I think wisely into where they have been working.”
A private company that recently bought the technology will be funding and applying for the FDA’s approval of human trials. Foundation officials say the trials could start as early as 2015.