Aretha Franklin was famously private about her ailing health in her final years, but now her estate is joining the fight against the rare illness that claimed her life. The Aretha Franklin Fund for Neuroendocrine Cancer Research is now up and running, reports the Detroit Free Press. It's actually a partnership involving the Franklin estate, the Women’s Informal Network of Detroit, and Boston's Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF), per Spin. The launch comes on the one-year anniversary of Franklin's death. She died of a neuroendocrine tumor on the pancreas, which accounts for only 7% of all pancreatic cancer cases.
"A lot of the work we fund is basic science in the laboratory, learning why these tumors grow and spread," says the CEO of NETRF, Elyse Gellerman. "We don't know all the answers about that. Researchers are trying to understand these tumors at a cellular level and—with some of the treatments available—why some patients respond and others do not." Such tumors afflict about 170,000 people in the US. Another famous case: that of Steve Jobs. (Franklin's will revealed a surprise.)