Our Mission

Our mission is to accelerate cures for kidney cancer. We engage in patient advocacy and power research by supporting government and industry research funding, facilitating research collaborations, and offering direct financial support for clinical and laboratory researchers with promising ideas. Together, we can find the cure.

The Genesis of KidneyCAN

“I knew we had something here.”

KidneyCAN president and founder Bryan Lewis talks about the genesis of our organization. He explains how his own work in kidney cancer advocacy combined with the work of Ralph and Brenda Knapp, who raised money to fund the nation’s first patient-funded phase one clinical trial.

As Bryan says, we are stronger together. Here, he outlines the goals of our work moving forward.

About Us

KidneyCAN is a grassroots movement formed to support patient advocacy and accelerate kidney cancer research through direct financial support of cutting-edge researchers to better understand, treat and ultimately cure kidney cancer.

We are a registered 501(c)(3) charity (#81-3352468).  See our IRS determination letter here. See our 2018 Form 990 here.

Our Co-Founders

Bryan Lewis
Bryan LewisPresident & Co-founder
Bryan has been an active legislative advocate and policy spokesman for the kidney cancer community in Washington, DC and across the U.S. for the past 6 years. Most recently, he was successful in spearheading the efforts to obtain $10 million (now increased to $20 million) for an inaugural kidney cancer research program (KCRP) pursuant to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research program (CDMRP.org).

While in Washington, DC, Bryan was the Vice President, Operations & General Counsel for Brand USA, directing the day-to-day operations of the organization where he oversaw the legal matters, human resources, finance, accounting, events and information technology departments and assisted with the development of the organization’s long-term strategy and objectives.

Prior to joining Brand USA, Bryan served as Chief of Staff & General Counsel for the U.S. Travel Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association. Bryan was directly involved in the planning and support efforts for the passage of the Travel Promotion Act. He also had responsibilities for setting up and managing the association’s political action committee (Travel PAC).

A native of North Carolina, he earned his undergraduate degree in political science at Gordon College in Massachusetts and his law degree from Boston College. He is admitted to the bar in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. Bryan is a multi-year kidney cancer survivor. He and his family reside in Philadelphia, PA.

Bryan founded the Kidney Cancer Action Network (KCAN) in 2017 and subsequently merged with the Kidney Cancer Coalition in 2019 to form KidneyCAN.

Brenda Knapp
Brenda KnappCo-founder and Treasurer
Brenda is a certified public accountant with over 25 years in public accounting where she has been an advisor to a wide variety of non-profit organizations. Her range of services to non-profits over the years have included preparing 990’s, preparing audited and reviewed financial statements and consulting.

In addition to her professional experience with non-profits, she has served on numerous charitable organization boards over the past 17 years. Her responsibilities have included all executive board positions, chairing fundraising events, and serving on numerous committees.

Brenda graduated with a BS degree in Accounting from Christopher Newport University in 1988.

Brenda together with her husband Ralph, founded the Kidney Cancer Coalition in 2016 and subsequently merged their non-profit with KCAN to form KidneyCAN in 2019.

Ralph Knapp
Ralph KnappCo-founder
Ralph is the owner of Action Paving & Construction in Virginia Beach, VA. He started his Company 31 years ago at the age of 24 and the Company has grown to over 45 employees. He is an avid golfer and loves the outdoors. In 2014, at the age of 53 he was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma – kidney cancer. He continues to battle this disease and is committed to not only raising awareness but much needed research dollars for an underfunded cancer.

In 2015, Ralph and his wife Brenda raised over $300,000 to fund the RADVAX clinical trial for 25 advanced kidney cancer patients. Enrollment began spring of 2017 at the University of Texas, Southwestern in Dallas. The principal investigator is Hans Hammers, Md, Phd.

Ralph resides in Virginia Beach and Florida with his wife Brenda. Together they founded the Kidney Cancer Coalition in 2016 and subsequently merged their non-profit with KCAN to form KidneyCAN in 2019.

Our Directors

Glenn Hoskin
Glenn HoskinDirector
Glenn is a Partner/Principal at Ernst & Young, North America Strategic Sourcing and Category Management. Glenn also leads the Central Region Advisory Services for Energy Market, Oil & Gas, Utilities, Diversified Industrial, Consumer Products and Chemicals Clients. Prior to EY, Glenn was a Managing Director, Global Supply Chain Practice at Accenture where he worked for over a decade. Glenn has degrees from Gordon College and an MBA from Indiana University, Bloomington.
Michael Sims, DDS
Michael Sims, DDSDirector
Michael has been practicing general dentistry for the past 33 years in the Virginia Beach, Va area. His various affiliations past and present include The American Dental Association, The Academy of General Dentistry, Mid-Western Orthodontic Society, VB Jaycees and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Dr. Sims also served as a regional dental director for Cigna insurance.
Dr. Sims graduated with a BS in Biology from The Catholic University of America and a DMD from University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Michael enjoys golfing and yachting in the Chesapeake Bay.
Steven Zeiger
Steven ZeigerDirector
Steven advises families on strategies to help enhance after tax yields on their investments and assets. He has been published in and cited in Trust & Estates Magazine. As a member of the National Association of Estate Planning Speakers Bureau, he has addressed over fifteen Estate Planning Councils. Steven, guided by the book “Blue Ocean Strategies”, helps advisors create market niches for their new business development plans. Steven and his family live in Chappaqua NY. He enjoys playing tennis, skiing, and ping pong and traveling with his family. He is currently training for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute Pan Mass Challenge and MSKCC Cycle For Survival.
Jolene Jarrell
Jolene JarrellDirector
Jolene has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry with expertise in the health information management field. Ms. Jarrell has a BS Degree in Healthcare Management. She is active in the North Carolina Health Information Management Association (NCHIMA) and past President 2014-2015. She has served as a volunteer for over 10 years and held multiple board positions. Currently, Jolene resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband Chris Meadows.
Angas A. Reid
Angas A. ReidDirector of Technology
Angas has a BS in Business Management from Virginia (Tech) Polytechnic Institute and State University. He currently resides in San Francisco and works in technology in the Bay area. Angas heads the Kidney Cancer Coalition’s website, technical and digital back-end platforms.
Susan Poteat
Susan PoteatMedical Science Liaison
Susan is a volunteer serving as our liaison with the medical and scientific community.

In her professional career, Susan worked first as a teacher and then for 25 years as a medical physicist in radiation oncology before retirement.

Since her husband’s diagnosis with kidney cancer in 2007 she has served the kidney cancer community as a volunteer patient navigator on SmartPatients.com particularly in patient education. Her special interest is clinical trials and she is a Patient Advocate for kidney cancer on the Renal Task Force.

She will be coordinating with our medical and scientific advisors on project development and funding, research summit logistics, arranging patient input for industry requests and development of educational content for patients.

Howard McClurd
Howard McClurdBoard Member
Howard McClurd is an 18-year kidney cancer survivor and recent prostate cancer survivor. For over 25 years, he has been a successful owner of multiple businesses in the medical field. Howard currently owns a specialty medical supply company and a “One You Love Home Healthcare” franchise location in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area.

Howard has served on multiple nonprofit boards to help organizations grow and prosper, including “Dragonfly Forest” for children with autism, Down syndrome, persistent asthma, sickle cell disease, and hemophilia. As a fundraiser and supporter for many cancer organizations, he often brings his “Race for a Cure” racecar to charity events to raise money.

Howard focused his work and Joined KidneyCAN in 2017 to team up with his cousin Brenda and her husband Ralph Knapp in funding research for a cure. With KidneyCAN, Howard works on medical and pharmaceutical outreach for funding and is a team leader for KidneyCAN’s advocacy efforts.

Michael Besche
Michael BescheBoard Member
Michael Besche is the President of Besche Companies, an oil distribution company in Waldorf, MD.
Merlinda Chelette (1963-2019)
Merlinda Chelette (1963-2019)Former director
Our beloved Merlinda went to be with her Savior on April 17, 2019 after a valiant 7 year battle with kidney cancer. Merlinda was on the inaugural board of KidneyCan and dedicated herself to funding kidney cancer research at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. She was active on the Patient Council Board at UTSW and also volunteered weekly at the Simmons Cancer Center. Merlinda established and Co-Chaired the 2017 and 2018 Rock The Cure events in Dallas and Chaired the 2017 Tee Off Fore Kidney Cancer Golf Tournament also in Dallas. Merlinda’s passion for helping other kidney cancer patients and her desire to bring awareness to the disease made a tremendous difference in countless lives. She will forever remain in our hearts.

“Coming together is a beginning;
keeping together is progress; working together is success”

Henry Ford

Get Connected

The KidneyCAN is a movement of those impacted by Kidney Cancer working together to abolish Kidney Cancer as a threat to the life and health of patients by accelerating research and offering direct financial support for clinical and laboratory researchers with promising ideas.

“Kidney cancer is the ideal sandbox for these new approaches, and without a doubt the same approach can, should and will be suitable for other cancers”