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2023 Thad photo.jpeg

President, DLH Foundation
San Diego CA


In 2007, my sister Deana Hamilton Hughes passed away at 39 years old from signet ring cell gastroesophageal cancer, or what’s now known as Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC). Following her death, I went to the doctor and had an endoscopy to make sure he didn’t see anything similar to my sister’s cancer inside my GI tract. My doctor didn’t see anything concerning at the time, and I never thought about it again.

Then, in early 2020, a visit to my doctor for an “early satiety” complaint turned into a Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer diagnosis caused by the CDH1 gene mutation. Although she wasn’t ever tested, my sister obviously carried the gene mutation. My Mom had the gene mutation and never developed cancer that we know about. She likely received the gene mutation from her father, who had a partial gastrectomy at the Mayo Clinic, and died a few years later of stomach cancer. My cousin Ryan and his Mom (my Aunt) Kathy are the only others in the family that we know carry the CDH1 gene mutation. Ryan has two sons that are too young to be tested. Finally, Kristen and I have one son, Wyatt. Sadly, I passed the CDH1 gene mutation on to him.


My personal life mission is to love everything life delivers to me (Amor Fati) and do my best to help my friends and family fulfill and enjoy their own life mission.


As you might imagine, passing the gene mutation on to Wyatt was devastating to me and my family. With that in mind, Im committed to a new personal life mission to “Save Our Stomachs”. I have other good friends (that I consider family) in our CDH1 community that share our scenario of having passed the gene mutation on to their kids.

We hope our cause may encourage you to think more seriously about supporting our Foundation fundraising targets more than other causes the next year or two to help us achieve the target amounts we need.


My goal is to help our DLH Foundation and Save Our Stomachs team raise $1,500,000 dollars as quickly as possible for the Endowment Fund.


The cause of HDGC is my CDH1 Gene Mutation. I passed this CDH1 Gene Mutation onto my son, Wyatt Hamilton. The current protocol for Wyatt, and other patients with the CDH1 Gene Mutation, is to have a prophylactic gastrectomy between the ages of 20 and 30 years old to “most successfully prevent” getting stomach cancer. Wyatt is almost 21 years old. The urgency of our goal is immediate.

My effort right now, and for the rest of my life, is to spend my healthy days doing everything I can to save Wyatt’s stomach. I can specifically do that in two ways: (1) Fund Parry Guilford’s Otago University Research Lab with an Endowment Fund to help him continue his work, and (2) Fund Dr. Jeremy Davis at the NIH to run a new Human Clinical Trial. The Human Clinical trial is almost ready to implement, and it’s a chemo prevention drug that Parry Guilford’s Lab is working on so Dr. Jeremy Davis can “put it into production”, so to speak. This Human Clinical Trial, should Wyatt and other patients decide to enter it, could allow them to delay Total Gastrectomy for a longer period of time with more assurance cancer won’t develop while they wait.

I’m asking my friends and family to make their donations to the DLH Foundation as often as possible, and we will pass 100% of those donations through to Otago and NIH. Our goal is to raise and then donate the $1,500,000 to the two recipients. We will publish the financial results as frequently as necessary.


About the DLH Foundation

In Loving Memory of Deana LaRae Hamilton Hughes 1967 - 2007

Deana passed away on January 12, 2007. The DLH Foundation was created by family and friends in 2008. It is the mission of The DLH Foundation to honor Deana's memory by creating a community to help others afflicted with Gastro-esophageal cancers.

The DLH Foundation's mission is to create a community and help find a cure for Gastro-esophageal cancers.

  • The DLH Foundation website was developed as a one-stop informational resource for patients and caregivers as they navigate their journey to learn more about gastro-esophageal cancers. The website includes information on treatment options, nutrition, clinical trials and inspiration.
  • Community Awareness & Education of the most common symptoms of Gastro-Esophageal cancer will increase awareness so that early detection might be possible.
  • Deana's Wish Memorial Scholarship was established to help students attend college whose lives have been directly affected by Gastro-Esophageal Cancer.
  • As we grow, to fund Research and Development that will help support new and innovative ways to identify the causes and treatment of Gastro-esophageal cancer.

While we weren't able to beat Deana's cancer, we came through the process determined to try to make it just a little easier for those who would follow. Together we will share information; together we will continue to travel this journey; and together we will continue to search for a cure.

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Upcoming Events


April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

November is Stomach Cancer Awareness Month


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    The DLH Foundation has Tax-Exempt Status as a Private Operating Foundation described in Sections 501(c)(3) and 4942(j)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, making contributions tax-deductible for federal tax purposes. Federal Tax ID No. 26-4540063