Some big Star Trek celebrities are trying to build awareness and get support from Star Trek fans to help some good causes with some personal connections.
Frakes: Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and Star Trek: The Next Generation legend Jonathan Frakes is lending his voice to support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). This year’s campaign, titled “Research for All of Us,” encourages the nation to get involved in the fight against pancreatic cancer by sharing inspiring stories, including Frakes’, which highlight the urgent need for more research and donations to PanCAN to support pancreatic cancer patients and their families.
Frakes, who lost his brother Daniel to pancreatic cancer, understands the pain and fear the disease brings patients and their loved ones. This has driven his partnership with PanCAN and commitment to the cause. “Twenty-four years ago I lost my best friend, my brother Daniel, to pancreatic cancer. His doctor gave him six to eight months to live, saying there was nothing that could be done for him. He died a week before my daughter was born,” said Frakes. “While there has been progress since Daniel was diagnosed, when the five-year survival rate was just 4%, we need more research for this disease. I want to do whatever I can to make a difference for other families affected by pancreatic cancer.”
Frakes also serves as a team leader alongside fellow actors Kitty Swink, an 18-year pancreatic cancer survivor, and her husband Armin Shimerman. They have raised thousands of dollars for the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, PanCAN PurpleStride, the ultimate walk to end pancreatic cancer.
In the past two decades, PanCAN has invested $174 million in groundbreaking research. This past year alone, PanCAN awarded more than $10.5 million in research grants as part of the largest-ever, single year total research investment of $25 million. People can support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network by visiting pancan.org. They can also participate in a free, virtual event on World Pancreatic Cancer Day (Nov. 17), when survivors, caregivers, and researchers will bring to life some of the incredible stories about the impact pancreatic cancer research and PanCAN has made on their lives. To register for free, go to pancan.org/WPCD2022.
Ryan: Trek Against ALS
Star Trek: Voyager and Picard star Jeri Ryan has launched an even more personal appeal on behalf of another member of the Trek family, Margot Muraszkiewicz, who has served as Ryan’s stand-in on Picard and was recently diagnosed with Bulbar Onset ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or, “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) at 50 years old.
In a new video, Ryan—alongside TNG and Picard stars Levar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Michelle Hurd, and Brent Spiner—asks friends and fans to visit TrekAgainstALS.com to help support Muraszkiewic, whose motor functions are rapidly declining and will soon require round-the-clock care. Just a few months ago she was living a vital, active life but after the rapid, initial onset of symptoms her prognosis is now two to three years.
“Margot’s joyous spirit and warm heart have also made her a dear friend over the years,” stated Ryan. “She is going through something that would be most people’s deepest fear, and she is facing it with grace and strength. It is an honor for all of Margot’s friends in the ‘Trek’ community and beyond to help her through this difficult time and help the ALS Association continue its work finding a cure for this horrible disease.”
Muraszkiewicz has been an actress, dancer and stand-in for more than two decades. She first stood in for Ryan on the TV series Body of Proof and then again on Star Trek: Picard. Due to her illness, Margot is now unable to work, and her friends, family and colleagues are rallying to help her comfortably live out her prognosis. Any funds above the campaign’s publicly listed goal or leftover after her passing will be given to the ALS Association’s research division.
For more visit TrekAgainstALS.com.