Who We Are

KidneyCAN is a patient-created and patient-driven movement, drawing energy and motivation from people all over the United States and the world whose lives are impacted by kidney cancer.

Our mission is to accelerate cures for kidney cancer by:

  • advocating for government and industry funding,
  • facilitating collaboration across research and clinical disciplines,
  • offering direct financial support for researchers with promising ideas,
  • engaging the patients and caregivers through educational outreach, and
  • connecting patients with trial and treatment opportunities.
The mission of KidneyCAN is to accelerate cures for kidney cancer. We believe that means accelerating cures for everyone through a commitment to practices that promote equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Our Story

KidneyCAN was formed by kidney cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers who originally met through the Smart Patients forum. Recognizing the lack of critical research funding dollars, the KidneyCAN founders wanted to provide a means of stimulating research progress through advocacy and direct fundraising. In short, we provide a voice for the kidney cancer community as we work to accelerate cures.

Our Founders

Bryan Lewis

President & Co-Founder

Bryan has been an active legislative advocate and policy spokesman for the kidney cancer community in Washington, D.C., and across the U.S. for the past 6 years. In 2017, he was successful in spearheading the efforts to obtain $10 million for the inaugural Kidney Cancer Research Program (KCRP) pursuant to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP.org).

While in Washington, 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

Treasurer & Co-Founder

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 Knapp was the owner of Action Paving & Construction in Virginia Beach, VA. He started his company many years ago at the age of 24, and the company has grown to over 45 employees. Ralph was an avid golfer and loved the outdoors.

In 2014, at the age of 53, Ralph was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma – kidney cancer. He battled kidney cancer valiantly and became 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 was Hans Hammers, MD, PhD.

Brenda and Ralph founded the Kidney Cancer Coalition in 2016 and subsequently merged their non-profit with KCAN to form KidneyCAN in 2019. Ralph lived in Virginia Beach and Florida with his wife, Brenda, until his death in March of 2022.

Ralph brought a unique energy and entrepreneurial acumen to kidney cancer advocacy, and despite his health challenges, was never without a smile and a hug for everyone. He was a model of faith and optimism, and our team will miss him enormously.

We are committed to carrying Ralph’s mission forward and hope you’ll read more about his life and work.

Board of Directors



Dr. Toni K. Choueiri is the Director of the Lank Center for Genitourinary (GU) Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI)/Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg Chair and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the Co-leader of the Kidney Cancer Program at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and past President of the Medical Staff at DFCI (2016-2018). He is the recipient of the George Canellos Award for Excellence in Clinical Investigation and Patient Care from DFCI and the Eugene P. Schonfeld Award from the Kidney Cancer Association (KCA). He serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Kidney Cancer Panel, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) GU Steering Committee, and is past Chairman (2015-2018) of the Medical and Scientific Steering Committee of the KCA. In addition, he is an Aresty Scholar from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Choueiri is interested in developing novel experimental therapies and biomarkers in GU malignancies, including renal cell carcinoma (RCC). His research also focuses on the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment outcomes of GU cancers, especially through having co-established the International Metastatic RCC Database Consortium criteria for RCC risk stratification. His biomarker work has shed light on complex immunogenomics mechanisms contributing to response and resistance to targeted therapy and immunotherapy. He has also contributed to understanding of the underlying biology and rationale for therapies in rare histological variants of RCC such as papillary and sarcomatoid RCC.

Dr. Choueiri has received research funding from the NCI, the Department of Defense (DOD), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and industry partners. His work has been published in journals such as the NEJM, Nature, Nature Medicine, Science, Cancer Cell, Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), JAMA Oncology, The Lancet, Lancet Oncology, and Journal of Clinical Oncology. He lectures frequently throughout the United States and around the world. He has over 600 PubMed-indexed publications and is the lead investigator of multiple national and international phase I-III clinical trials in GU cancers.



Hans Hammers, M.D., Ph.D., is a nationally and internationally recognized medical oncologist who focuses primarily on kidney cancer. He is a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and a member of its Division of Hematology and Oncology. He is the inaugural Eugene P. Frenkel, M.D. Scholar in Clinical Medicine.

Originally from Germany, Dr. Hammers received his medical and doctoral degrees from the Medical University of Luebeck. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, and then received advanced training through a fellowship program in medical oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Also at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Hammers led the kidney cancer research efforts and played a major role in the development of immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors in kidney cancer. His work in immunotherapy has been nationally recognized, and he has been the principal investigator on several industry- and investigator-sponsored trials.

Board certified in internal medicine and in medical oncology, he joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2016.

He is co-leader of clinical research and immunotherapy for the kidney cancer research program and will be continuing his research efforts to develop novel immunotherapies for kidney cancer.



Glenn is the Executive Vice President of Energy and Natural Resources at Maine Pointe. He is a highly accomplished supply chain executive with 20+ years of international industry and consulting experience across all functional areas of supply chain and operations. He has led supply chain practices at multiple firms, with a focus on delivering significant income statement and balance impacts through cost structure, working capital and fixed asset optimization.

Before his work at Maine Point, Glenn was 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 his career in consulting, Glenn served with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of State in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Glenn has a degree in economics from Gordon College and an MBA from Indiana University, Bloomington.



Jolene Jarrell is the former COO for a physician-led healthcare consulting company responsible for leading all operational initiatives.  She is an experienced Health Information Management professional with years of experience working in acute care facilities and has expertise in HIM operations, compliance, coding and auditing, revenue cycle, utilization management, chargemaster, and HIPAA/HITECH rules and regulations. Before her success at Enjoin as COO & Security Officer, she was an HIM Consultant responsible for assessing HIM operations related to revenue cycle management and leading process change using best practices. She graduated from Gardner Webb University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Healthcare Management.

Ms. Jarrell is a member of the American Health Information Management Association, where she is recognized as a Registered Health Information Administrator and former Certified Coding Specialist. She served on the North Carolina Health Information Management Association Board for over ten years and was the NCHIMA President from 2014 -2015. Jolene was the recipient of the NCHIMA Distinguished Member Award in 2015 for her efforts in transforming the CSA’s operational and financial strategies to ensure sustainability. She currently serves on the NCHIMA Finance Committee.

Jolene resides in Raleigh, NC, with her husband, Chris Meadows.



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.



Steven advises families on strategies to help enhance after tax yields on their investments and assets. He has been published 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, New York.

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.

Our Team

Debra Beyhan


Debra Beyhan has served as a volunteer and KidneyCAN’s Legislative Patient Advocate for several years. Deb leads the kidney cancer community of delegates for our advocacy events, including Spring and Fall Advocacy Days and our summer District Days event.

Deb has a deep understanding of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs’ funding process, as well as the impact of Congressional funding on kidney cancer research. She recruits advocates to grow our voice and helps our advocacy team present a strong case to Congress for continued research funding. Deb has also been instrumental in bringing doctors to our advocacy team in 2021.

Debra lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Angie Edwards


Angie Edwards has served as the Operations Manager for KidneyCAN since 2019.

Angie coordinates KidneyCAN team and event schedules, manages projects and timelines, organizes records and documents, and keeps operations running smoothly. She also facilitates communication between KidneyCAN and partners, sponsors, and the general community.

Though she currently lives in Oreland, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Rob, Angie is a Georgia girl at heart and brings Southern hospitality to the KidneyCAN team.



Adrian Hayes joined the KidneyCAN team in 2019. She handles KidneyCAN’s communications needs, including the KidneyCAN and KCRS websites, social media channels, content strategy and promotion development, as well as graphic design.

Adrian has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Adrian is the owner of Type A Virtual Solutions in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she lives with her husband Jason and their four children.



Susan serves as our liaison with the medical and scientific community. Her 25-year experience as a medical physicist in radiation oncology and her 20-year personal experience as a caregiver and advocate for kidney cancer patients informs her participation as a patient voice in multiple settings. She currently serves as an advocate in multiple settings including Renal Task Force, KCRP Programmatic Panel, and Kidney Cancer Research Consortium.

Since her husband’s diagnosis with kidney cancer in 2007, Susan has served the kidney cancer community as a volunteer patient navigator on SmartPatients.com, particularly in patient education with a special interest in clinical trials. She assists with the organization of the Kidney Cancer Research Summit (KCRS) and coordinates with our medical and scientific advisors on project development and the development of educational content for patients.



Angas has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Virginia (Tech) Polytechnic Institute and State University. Angas is a talented developer who has worked in the technology sector for various companies including FullStory, Sendbird, Orion Labs, and Insightly.

A drone and photography enthusiast, Angas is a go-getter with a passion for innovation and technology. He consistently seeks challenges and enjoys working within a team environment, so he can build his technical skillsets while contributing and learning from others.

Angas supports KidneyCAN’s technology needs, providing website and digital back-end platform support. He currently lives in Bozeman, Montana.



Meryl Uranga is a proud almost 6 year kidney cancer survivor. She spent her first professional decade as a radio personality and DJ, and retired from her 30 year Telecom project management career in 2019.

Meryl now focuses on accelerating cures with KidneyCAN as a Community Liaison patient advocacy, legislative patient advocate and SE team lead, KidneyCANDID administrator, and media representative.

Scientific Advisory Board

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