The Michael E. Connolly Endowment
for Lung Cancer Research

Supporting Promising Research in the Fight
Against Lung Cancer

With a gift or multi-year pledge of $5,000 or more (payable over 5 years), your family or company will be permanently recognized on the Founding Donor Wall of Honor and may permanently name a room/area within the new Upstate Cancer Center at Upstate Medical University in honor of your family or loved one. Call 315-464-HOPE for information about naming opportunities.

Michael Connolly, a devoted husband and father, dedicated volunteer coach, and star Binghamton North High School football and baseball player, died of lung cancer in 2002 at age 39, leaving behind his wife, Penny, and son, Ryan.  He was a non-smoker; a victim of secondhand smoke. During his 22-month battle with the disease, Michael was treated at Upstate University Hospital.

Penny and Ryan responded to their family tragedy by helping others. They established the Michael E. Connolly Endowment for Lung Cancer Research at the Foundation for Upstate Medical University dedicated to funding promising research to fight this deadly disease. Having raised over $600,000, the Connolly’s are over halfway to their goal to build a $1 million endowment that will generate the funds for greater research potential.

  • Right now promising lung cancer research is underway at Upstate Medical University. Thanks to $20,000 in matching funds from the Chicago-based LUNGevity Foundation, a $40,000 grant was awarded to develop new, targeted drugs that make lung cancer cells more sensitive to radiation therapy at lower doses and with greater effectiveness. This study will lead to a better understanding of how cancer cells defend themselves against chemo- and radiation therapy and advance new medicines to pre-clinical and clinical trials.


  • Upstate investigators are studying very early stage non-small cell lung cancer, the most common lung cancer, for which surgery is the treatment of choice. The goal of their research is to identify the presence of certain tumor markers found in lung cancer patients and determine which patients might benefit from drug treatments after surgery to help reduce the chance of their cancer coming back.


  • Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer in America, causing more cancer deaths than breast, prostate, and colon cancers - combined. This year, over 222,000 Americans faced a diagnosis of lung cancer. Sadly, some 157,300 lost their battle with the disease.


  • Yet, lung cancer continues to receive a fraction of the reserach funding awarded to other major cancer types. Breast cancer now has an 89 percent survival rate; 99 percent for prostate cancer. Surviving lung cancer remains at only 15 percent, relatively unchanged in over 40 years! Research saves lives!

© 2014 Foundation for Upstate Medical University