Choose Your Team
Event Planning

Captured Event

April 25, 2013 - Wings of Hope Soars to Support Pancreatic Cancer Research

What: Second annual benefit with reception, silent auction and special presentation by SR-71 pilot Brian Shul to raise awareness about and research funding for pancreatic cancer at the University of Colorado Cancer Center

Where: The Wildlife Experience

When: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Time: 6 p.m.: silent auction, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres; 7:15 p.m.: SR-71 presentation

Ticket Prices: Individual: $100

Beneficiary: University of Colorado Cancer Center for pancreatic cancer research, treatments and programs

Host(s): Maureen A. Shul

Presenting Sponsor(s): The Walt Imhoff family in memory of Georgia Imhoff

Welcome: Gary Debus, CEO, The Wildlife Experience

Speaker: SR-71 pilot Brian Shul, author of "Sled Driver;" Colin Weekes, M.D., Ph.D., University of Colorado Cancer Center; Paula E. Sandoval, former Colorado state senator; Virginia Shaffer, Maureen Shul

Catering: The Wildlife Experience; Gigi's Cupcakes

Sponsors: Aircraft Performance Group (APG); The Shul family; The John W. Buffington family; Centennial Airport; The family of Betsy Crane and friends; Paula E. Sandoval in memory of Paul Sandoval; Lee Alpert & Co. Real Estate; The Johnson family; The Comerford family; Virginia Shaffer, on behalf of Rusty D. Shaffer family; University of Colorado Cancer Center; Gallery One; Mountain Aviation; X Jet; RR Roofing and Renovations LLC

Menu: Dessert cupcakes: Mojito, wedding cake, "Midnight Magic," strawberry shortcake, red velvet (gluten-free)

Attendance: 300

Attire: Business formal

Hors D'Oeuvres:: Domestic and imported cheese display with assorted crackers; assorted bruschetta; Southwest chicken and olive tapenade; brie cheese & fresh raspberry tartlet; prosciutto-wrapped shrimp; coconut shrimp w/ pineapple and sweet Thai chili sauce; pot stickers; petite Beef Wellingtons; bacon-wrapped quail


Event Coordinator: Maureen A. Shul

Board of Directors: Maureen A. Shul, Dr. Colin Weekes, Melanie Avner

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Perry

 Walt Imhoff and Betsy Hogan
Walt Imhoff and Betsy Hogan

Whether it was Brian Shul’s riveting, remarkable account of survival to piloting the fastest plane ever built, or the spectrum of people affected by a deadly diagnosis, the second annual Wings of Hope benefit was an evening meant for sharing and supporting pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Stories of courage, perseverance and a dash of humor highlighted every speaker’s personal experience at the event for 300 on Thursday, April 25, at The Wildlife Experience.

With tables of enticing silent-auction items up for bid, guests had the opportunity to fuel their generosity with an array of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, topped off with sweet treats from Gigi’s Cupcakes. The group adjourned to the theatre, where Wildlife Experience CEO Gary Debus personally welcomed the group. Maureen A. Shul, founder of Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research, opened the evening talking about losing her mother and brother to the disease and her inspiration to honor their memory with the foundation’s creation. In February 2013, the organization formally partnered with the UC Cancer Center, funding its pancreatic cancer research and programs.

That announcement was a natural segue into a short talk by Colin Weekes, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the Pancreas Medical Oncology Program at the UC School of Medicine. Former Denver City Council member and Colorado state senator Paula E. Sandoval shared memories of her husband Paul and their positive experience at the UC Cancer Center. Virginia Shaffer spoke about the diagnosis and legacy of her husband, Boulder sports broadcaster Rusty D. Shaffer, on behalf of the Shaffer family.

SR-71 pilot (and Maureen’s brother) Brian Shul told the audience about fighting back from severe burns incurred when he was shot down during the Vietnam conflict as an Air Force pilot. After 15 reconstructive surgeries and intense physical therapy, he went on to fly fighter jets for 15 more years, culminating his career as a pilot of the top-secret SR-71, the fastest plane ever built. An avid photographer, images of his experiences highlighted his anecdotes. His SR-71 book “Sled Driver,” is illustrated with his own photography, the single most popular book ever created about the aircraft.

Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, the disease is the only one with a five-year relative survival rate in the single digits, at just six percent, a rate that has not changed in 40 years. With no early-detection tools, effective treatments or adequate funding for research, the rapidly rising threat of pancreatic cancer urgently demands an increase in awareness and research funding.

Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer was created in February 2012 by Maureen Shul after losing her mother and brother to the disease within months of each other. The organization is dedicated to raising awareness and funding for the ongoing research, clinical trials and treatment of pancreatic cancer patients at the Pancreatic Cancer Research Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Founded out of grief, driven by purpose and in pursuit of making a difference, Wings of Hope is dedicated to accelerating research, providing the most advanced treatments and finding the cure. To learn more, please visit .


See More Past Events