The Story of Jeremy Ingham
Third in a series celebrating the 10th Anniversary of BHCRI
Jeremy Ingham was a remarkable young man. At age 17, Jeremy was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer. After several initially successful surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy, Jeremy was again able to participate in all the things he loved; golfing, swimming, snowshoeing. Unfortunately, after the cancer returned for a third time there were no further options for treatment. Jeremy was by this time an undergraduate student at Acadia University, where he completed his BSc in Chemistry and Biology and graduated with his class in the fall of 2017.
Jeremy succumbed to cancer on December 29, 2017 at the age of 22 but not before he did something extraordinary. Jeremy wanted to become a doctor and researcher, specifically cancer research, and so Jeremy established the Jeremy Ingham Cancer Research Trust at the IWK Foundation. This endowment funds the Jeremy Ingham Summer Studentships which provide support to undergraduate students working with members of BHCRI for 14 weeks during the summer months. Through this Trust, BHCRI has been able to fund two students to date and the funding is awarded to the top-ranked student in each competition. Although a relatively new partnership with BHCRI, the Jeremy Ingham Cancer Research Trust allows top undergraduate students to pursue cancer research projects where they may not otherwise have been able. Through this partnership, BHCRI provides the oversight and peer review to ensure that the wishes of Jeremy and his family are met.
The first recipient of the ‘Ingham Studentship’ was Kaela Fraser, an undergraduate science student at Jeremy’s Alma Mater, Acadia University. Kaela’s project explored how analogs of curcumin, a molecule found in the spice turmeric, can be synthesized to enhance its chemo-preventative properties. Kaela is now entering her fourth year of studies and has plans to become a doctor. “I am very grateful to have been the recipient of this scholarship”, says Kaela. Kaela has received several funding awards including an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award and the Killam Fellowship award, which will allow her to study at Arizona State University this fall. Kaela’s supervisor, Dr. Amitabh Jha, says “This opportunity (empowered by BHCRI and the Ingham family) has given Kaela an excellent insight into the world of research in general and cancer drug discovery in particular.”
This year, Jackson Weir received the Jeremy Ingham Studentship. Jackson is a UNB student working with Dr. Tony Reiman in the Department of Biology. Jackson’s project is looking at how our immune system can be manipulated to target Multiple Myeloma (MM), a cancer that will affect over 2000 Canadians this year. Immunotherapy is a new type of therapy that holds promise for patients with MM. Immunotherapy aims to improve the function of the immune system in fighting cancer cells. One way to harness the immune system is by targeting specific protein molecules, so called immune markers, on the surface of MM cells. By better understanding how these molecules work in MM cells, it may be possible to develop better therapies to treat this cancer. “First of all, my time doing research this summer was truly amazing” says Weir. “The Jeremy Ingham studentship award allowed me to take the next step in pursuing my passion of becoming a cancer researcher, an experience made possible through Jeremy’s bravery and passion, allowing others to pursue a similar dream to his own.”
To support Jeremy’s legacy and learn more about this incredible young man, visit www.iwkfoundation.org/jeremy