CCI Immunotherapy Research Fund
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Fundraising goal $500,000.00
Recent donations (142 donations)
Name DescendingX Amount
Shana Kelley $500.00
Samantha and Scott Wasserman $250.00
Julie Urvater
Tim Lowinger $166.00
Caryn Crasnick-Maloney $100.00
Recent donations
Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hiking Adventure

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) extends 2658 miles from Campo on the southern California border with Mexico to Manning Park, British Columbia in Canada.
PCT Thru Hiking Adventure to Support Cellular Immunotherapy Research
I am thru hiking the 2658 mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2023 with my husband, Gib Biddle, to commemorate and support advances in cellular immunotherapy research. I recently retired from a career in cancer research, drug development and an academic clinical hematology practice. Over the past 25+ years, I have had the honor and privilege of working with collaborators, including Carl June and Bruce Levine at Univ. Pennsylvania, on cutting edge research in cellular immunotherapy. This research has resulted in FDA approval of multiple chimeric antigen receptor modified CAR T cell (CAR T) therapies for advanced blood cancers with truly breakthrough results, including cures, in refractory leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. The promise of this field of "living drugs" that can redirect the exquisite and targeted power of the human immune system to engage and kill cancer cells is immense. After 25 years of dedicated and iterative research, the field of cellular immunotherapy is now at the tipping point, with potential applications across a spectrum of serious human diseases, well beyond cancer. By sponsoring our PCT adventure, you will be supporting cutting edge research into the next generation of cellular immunotherapies, led by Carl June and Bruce Levine, the true pioneers of this breakthrough field.
Supporting the Early Research Careers of Women
We need physicians and scientists in cancer research who are representative of the full spectrum of patients we treat. While women enter medical and scientific fields at equal numbers to men, women are still under represented in leadership roles across academia and the biopharma industry. Women need opportunities, financial and emotional support and mentorship to embark on, persist in and thrive in science and medicine. Funds raised from our PCT adventure will focus on supporting the research of early career women, with prioritization given to those from underserved minority groups, as they embark on their own research journeys in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy at Univ. Pennsylvania.
Why the PCT?
The PCT is a 2658-mile wilderness trail that starts near the town of Campo on the Mexican border in California and traverses the southern Californian desert with its mountainous "islands in the sky", climbs and descends the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountains in central California, extends north through Mt Lassen and the Trinity Alps, and then traverses the high desert and Cascade mountain ranges of Oregon and Washington, culminating 8 miles across the Canadian border in Manning Park, British Columbia. Walking the length of this trail is a formidable challenge, but then again, so is cancer research.

After losing my mother to multiple sclerosis while I was in high school and my father to stomach cancer during my first year of medical school, I embarked on a solo bicycle adventure down the Pacific Coast highway from Washington to southern California. The solitude, natural beauty and physical challenge was a tonic for my soul, allowing me to heal and move beyond the pain and loss as I embarked on my medical education and future profession. Now, as I enter retirement and reflect on my career in science and medicine, it seems fitting to turn around and walk back along the crest of the western mountains from Mexico to Canada and reflect on the progress we have made in cancer immunotherapy research and the great opportunities that lay ahead. I invite you to sponsor this thru hiking adventure. All money raised will support the research of early career women within the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy at Univ. Pennsylvania.
PCT Fun Facts and Fundraising Goals
I hope to raise at least $500,000 to support early career women physicians and scientists as they embark on their research journeys within the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania. This fundraiser combines many of my passions: wilderness adventure, cellular immunotherapy research and advancing the careers of the next generation of female physicians and scientists. A $2658 donation represents 1 dollar per mile; a $26.58 donation represents 1 penny per mile - give what you can.

If you are interested in following our PCT adventure more closely, Endpoint News will be publishing several of my personal essays from the trail and promoting this fundraiser. You can also follow my husband's PCT blog on substack ( and we will both be posting on instagram (kristen.hege and gbidddle616). Follow us and cheer us on as we embark on this journey after the wettest/snowiest winter in California in recorded history.

If you prefer to donate through a donor advise fund, the EIN for University of Pennsylvania is: Legal Name: Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania; Employee Identification #: 23-1352685.

if you prefer to send a check, please mail to the address below and direct it to the CCI Fund. If sending a check, please contact Mike Krystopolski at U Penn and we will work to ensure it is allocated to this fund, and that the donation is accounted for on this fundraising page.

For checks, mail to/attention:

Michael J. Krystopolski
Director of Development, Corporate & Foundation Relations
Penn Medicine Development & Alumni Relations
3535 Market Street, Suite 750
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309

Checks made payable to The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
Please include a memo line in honor of Kristen Hege's PCT Fundraiser.

For all question regarding donations, please contact:
Elizabeth Watkins
  • PCT Total Distance = 2658 miles
  • Elevation Gain = 420,880 feet
  • Permits Granted = 50/day from March to May
  • High Sierra snowfall this winter = 646 inches
  • PCT Hikers: 42% are women, 22% are over age 50, 15% hike with a spouse or partner, 13% are non-white, 3% have PhDs, 1% have MDs, 14% finish
  • 1 dollar/mile = $2658
  • 1 penny/mile = $26.58
  • CART approvals: leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma
  • No. of cellular immunotherapies in development: 100's
  • 100% of your donation is tax-deductible
Donation messages
Inspiring. The Wasserfam is all about empowering the next gen of women scientific leaders. --Samantha and Scott Wasserman
Kristen - Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful essays, your pioneering work in biotech, and establishing a fund to pay it forward! Julie Urvater --Julie Urvater
Very inspiring and for a fantastic cause! Thanks for sharing and letting us experience it vicariously! --Tim Lowinger
Well Done, Kristen! --Mark Gilbert
What comes around goes around. Thanks for sharing your good KarMMa with us on the PCT and in your home. See ya out there somewhere. --Salty and Frito
This is in memory of Olivier Gouedard who worked tirelessly through his own bout with cancer. It was a crowning life accomplishment for him. --Scott Tegethoff and Olivier Gouedard
Best wishes for a safe and fulfilling finish to your journey, Kristen! --Tim Campbell
Good luck on the rest of the hike Kristen --Third Rock Ventures
Good luck! --Patrick Hanley
Supporting this amazing effort. --HireMinds - Biotech Recruiting Team (BOS/SF)
Have a great hike. Thank you for all that you're doing. My favorite part of the JMT is Marie Lake before Muir Trail ranch. That's a gorgeous part of the hike. --Dr. Donmienne Leung
Thanks Kristen for this enlightening series and your inspiring adventure. --Tamir Halaban
KarMMa - It was great to meet you in Tehachapi. I have enjoyed your PCT blog so much. Thank you for your work on empowering women in science and immunotherapy. All the best to you both in the months ahead! Georgette Theotig, Tehachapi, CA --Ms. Georgette Theotig
Kristen and Gib: Wishing you good weather and safe paths on your trek north. Kristen, thanks for everything you do to support the next generation of investigators and for making strides in support of patients battling life-threatening diseases. As I sit in the hospital where your parents practiced, I know they are very proud of you and everything you do! Bernie & Lori --Bernie & Lori Fox
Proud of the progress you have made to date Kristen and the inspiration you are providing to others. Good luck with the rest of the hike and look forward to celebrating with you at the end. --Garry Menzel
Thank you !!! --Ms. Lindsay Flood
Good luck to a trailblazer who has led I/O and breakthrough cancer therapy development, benefitting countless patients. Best wishes in your trek, Kristen. --Wende Hutton
To support the professional development of women in science --Ken & Erika Drazan
Belated birthday gift donation! --Paul O
Love it. Thanks for inspiring the rest of us. Every day. --Mike Tonneson
Excellent! --Mark Sherman and Jennifer Daves
Go, Kristen! What a meaningful effort. --Kimberly Whitefield
Best wishes as you continue your travels!! --Eric
Good luck to you on your trek! What a great cause - we are glad to contribute and support! --Lynn Hartung & Shay Clayton
Kristen, What an adventure you will have for such an important cause, especially the early career women!! Wishing you a safe and and memorable journey. -Sarah Cooley --Sarah Cooley
Best wishes to you on your journey Kristen! --Hyalker L Amaral
Enjoying Gib's trail reports! Great job out there on the PCT! --Mr. Jon Love
Kristen, we are with you! Thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us!! --Adrienne Farid
To young women in science...may they change the world! --michael keller
Kristen -- what an amazing and inspiring commitment. Enjoy the journey. --Joanne Smith-Farrell

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