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Big Tree Memorial Fund, Maryland-based Non-profit, Names New Board Chairman

(MARYLAND) — Big Tree Memorial Fund (BTMF) today announced Lance Kawaguchi as the new chairman of its board of directors. The appointment brings to the organization a dynamic individual renowned for his swift and substantial transformation of multiple cancer charities globally.

Big Tree Memorial Fund’s founding team discovered a unique combination in Lance of business acumen and compassionate leadership–qualities necessary to steer the organization. With him, they have also chosen someone who has experienced firsthand the impacts of cancer, as he lost his mother to the disease in 2016. In her memory, Lance has committed to utilizing his skills and talents to positively impact and drive change in the cancer research and patient impact sectors.

Big Tree Memorial Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2020 after the devastating loss of Erik "Big Tree" Knapp to glioblastoma, a fast-growing and aggressive brain cancer. The organization provides financial assistance and support to families dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one due to cancer through various fundraising events, including a fall Big Tree Invitational golf event and reception in Frederick, Maryland.

“The moment we met Lance we knew he could help us take Big Tree Memorial Fund to the next level of impact. Our organization, created in Erik’s legacy, wants to do bigger things and Lance is that catalyst,” said Lauren Long, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of BTMF. “His magnetic energy and enthusiasm, exceptional leadership, and vast experience and network answers our call for help in making a difference for Maryland families impacted by cancer.”

“It is an immense privilege to have been appointed to such a significant role, in homage to an extraordinary man. Delving into the life of Erik ignites a passion within me to uphold his remarkable spirit and his ability to unite individuals in our shared mission of providing hope to those combating cancer,” said Lance Kawaguchi. “Erik’s untimely death is a stark reminder that too many face a similar fate. The time for transformative change has come, and I wholeheartedly stand alongside the Big Tree Memorial Fund, ready to disrupt the status quo and turn our aspirations of change into reality.”

In December, Lance is embarking on an extraordinary journey, trekking over 70 miles to reach the South Pole in Antarctica. BTMF proudly supports this endeavor, partnering with Lance for a meaningful cause. By teaming up with almost 20 global charities from five different regions worldwide, Lance aims to break down barriers and foster global collaboration. Together striving to create a force multiplier effect and maximizing the collective impact in the fight against cancer.

Lance has risen to become a cancer research non-profit sector leader following a successful 25-year career in finance and banking. He had previously been managing director for two HSBC global groups, as well as global head of oil and gas for ANZ and Iraq country head for Standard Chartered Bank. Since taking over Australia-based Cure Brain Cancer Foundation as Chief Executive Officer in 2021, Lance has been internationally recognized for his work as a non-profit leader.


About Big Tree Memorial Fund

The Big Tree Memorial Fund (BTMF) is a Maryland-based 501(c)(3) advocating strength and providing assistance for families impacted by cancer in the legacy of Erik "Big Tree" Knapp, who passed from glioblastoma in 2020. BTMF has donated over $75,000 to families since the organization was established and hosts an annual Big Tree Invitational, where golfers, friends, family, and supportive organizations join to make a difference and raise money. Learn more and join the Big Tree family by following BTMF on social media (@bigtreememorialfund) and subscribing to a newsletter on

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