Please Help Me Fight Pancreatic Cancer!
My sister Connie, whose bone marrow had saved my life five years earlier, lost her life to pancreatic cancer in 1998. Our mom was then diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a month later and she succumbed to the disease in 2001. Since that time, we have lost friends and loved ones, most recently my dear friends Rachel Barron (2014) and Lisa Knight (2019).
Pancreatic cancer now claims more lives in the US than breast cancer does and far more than other forms of cancer. More than 56,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year in the US alone and more than 45,000 will be lost (155 and 125 per day!). Few know this fact because so few survive pancreatic cancer whereas other forms of cancer produce armies of survivors who lobby – loudly and effectively – for funding and research. Pancreatic cancer isn’t more important than breast or other cancers but there has to be a rational allocation of resources and there simply is not.
The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research is taking matters into their own hands. The foundation has served patients and families with information, referrals and various forms of assistance since 1997 but in 2005, the foundation began providing seed grants directly to pancreatic cancer researchers to accelerate the pace of research. The bulk of those funds come from the LA Cancer Challenge which the foundation hosts each fall. The foundation has awarded 87 seed grants since 2005 and our seed grant recipients in turn have received $95 million dollars in NIH grants on the basis of that research. Outcomes are improving and patients are living longer but the rapid growth of the disease (nearly doubling in just two decades) has outstripped those gains. There is so much yet to be done but we are forced to turn away many more applicants than we are able to fund.
The 22nd LA Cancer Challenge 5K run and walk will take place at UCLA on Sunday, October 20th and it will be my 22nd LA Cancer Challenge as well. Please join me if you can (team Heather & TEN & Families & Friends) and please consider donating toward our effort.
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