2021 Year End Newsletter

November 30, 2021
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Growing Hope Fall Fundraiser

Thank you to all who were able to join us at Growing Hope! We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful fall evening as we enjoyed the delicious hospitality at the Winery at Sovereign Estates. The evening began with European inspired food and wine pairing stations overlooking the vineyard and Lake Waconia while jazz ensemble, Craig T and the Meritage Trio performed on the patio. During the program we were honored to have multiple guest speakers join us.

Teresa Savaryn, C. difficile patient and venue host, shared her difficult health journey with C. difficile and ultimate recovery through an Intestinal Microbiota Transplant.
Dr. Alexander Khoruts, Director of the Microbiota Therapeutics Program, discussed the critical value of our non-profit research model and the impact COVID-19 has made on our microbiota therapeutics manufacturing facility.
Peter Westerhaus, ACT Founder, shared his own struggle with Ulcerative Colitis and the foundation on which ACT has been built.
Christie Lansdowne, ACT Executive Director, discussed the impact of ACT’s work through our partnerships, clinical trials and patient treatment.
Amanda Kabage, Research Program Manager at the University of Minnesota, shared the remarkable progress being made by patients enrolled in our Autism clinical trial.
Jon Westerhaus, ACT Board Member, imparted his perspective as a parent, struggling to find answers and how to join in ACT’s mission!

The evening was a great success and we raised over $100,000 towards advancing research, treating patients, and finding cures! Thank you SO much for your support, this work would not continue without your partnership! If you were unable to join us, you can watch the full program as well as individual speaker clips at: www.achievingcures.com/growinghope.

2021 Robert E. Wilkens Award

Robert E. Wilkens, a committed advisor for ACT, recognized the healing potential in our gut microbiome and was dedicated to advancing research and ultimately finding cures. A year after his passing in 2017, ACT established the Robert E. Wilkens award as an opportunity to recognize exemplary members of our community making a huge impact in microbiota research and treatment.

We are honored to present this year’s Robert E. Wilkens Award to Teresa Savaryn! Teresa overcame a difficult and long battle with C. difficile this year after receiving an Intestinal Microbiota Transplant. Even in the initial days of recovery, Teresa realized the potential of microbial transplants and has dedicated her time, energy, and the use of her business, The Winery at Sovereign Estates, towards continuing microbiota research and ensuring these treatments remain available for future patients in need. Thank you, Teresa, for your commitment to finding cures!

Volunteer With Us!

We would love to have you join our fantastic team at ACT! We have multiple volunteer opportunities available with varying levels of time commitment ranging from a few hours each quarter to a few hours each week. Volunteer opportunities include graphic design, marketing, social media, event planning & stool donation. Reach out to us at info@achievingcures.com for more information!

After a year of virtual races, ACT was thrilled to have the privilege of two race teams this fall at the Twin Cities Marathon and Colfax Marathon!


Our 2021 Twin Cities Marathon team of 25 runners had a gorgeous fall morning to run through Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Racers could hear our cowbells loud and clear as they passed ACT’s cheering station on Summit Avenue! A big congratulations to ACT runner, George Dickson III, for finishing in 28th place out of 4,410 marathon runners! Each person on our team had their own reason for joining ACT on the racecourse.

Two runners, Ashley and Ricky Margarit, have been running for ACT for three years and have shared their reason for continuing to hit the trails. “Ricky and I run for ACT because the cause hits very close to home. After being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 6 years ago, there were many times where I remember not having the energy to run, unless it was to the bathroom. After a long journey through many medications, infusions, etc., I am finally stable and feeling much better. Ricky has always been by my side through this, so it was no surprise that it was his idea to run the marathon for ACT 3 years ago. He carried me across the finish line that day, but our love for running together stuck with us and we’ve continued to run for ACT since. We are huge believers in the work, in Dr. Khoruts, and in the many lives yet to be impacted.” Check out more runner highlights at www.achievingcures.com/2021tcmarathon.


The traditionally springtime Colfax marathon took place the weekend of October 15th due to COVID and we were grateful to cheer on our amazing Run for Nana team in person! Seventeen team members ran the Colfax Half Marathon, 10K and 5K through the beautiful fall colors at Denver’s City Park with the added highlight of some racecourses running right through the Denver zoo! Our Run for Nana team has been racing the Colfax Marathon for three years to honor Emily Haller’s Nana, whose life was taken too soon by C. difficile, and to continue progressing microbiota research and C. difficile treatment. ACT was honored to have a tent in Charity Village and congratulate runners after their big finish. After the races finished, the Run for Nana team and community members gathered to celebrate Nana and all that has been accomplished to fight against others losing loved ones to C. difficile. Check out a highlight video of our Run for Nana Team at www.achievingcures.com/colfaxmarathon.

It’s hard to believe that we’re already gearing up for 2022 race season, but registration for the Colfax Marathon weekend May 14-15, 2022 is already underway! The first 500 runners to register for Colfax 2022 race weekend get the lowest entry fee available. You can register at: https://raceroster.com/events/2022/53489/denver-colfax-marathon and select “Achieving Cures Together” under the Charity Partner drop down menu during registration. We have opportunities to run the marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 10-mile and 5K!

Our dedicated race teams have made a huge impact in treating patients with debilitating C. difficile infections and supporting our clinical trials. This year, our Twin Cities Marathon and Colfax Run for Nana teams raised over $25,000! Thank you to each of our runners and all who supported them!

End of Year Gifts

We are grateful for your partnership as we continue prioritizing academic research, treating patients, and ultimately finding cures. As you make plans for year-end giving, please consider supporting Achieving Cures Together. You can donate online at www.achievingcures.com/donate, via mail or reach out to us at info@achievingcures.com to make a gift of stocks, bonds or mutual funds.


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