Thank you for your support!
I put this page up at the request of Molly’s family.
This is the 25th Los Angeles Cancer Challenge my 25th as well – I have been at this since year one – but my wife Liz and I have lived next door to Molly for even longer, nearly 30 years, and we have always looked out for her. Liz is a nurse, so it’s her nature, but I am an investigator so any solicitor who ever came to Molly’s door had to answer to me.
We’d pass by Molly’s open door and share coffee and conversation, and food from time to time. I shopped for her groceries with the emergence of Covid and though I’d been given a shopping list, she always wanted to see what I’d bought. Molly always had a smile on her face, a sly, almost mischievous one, and she most enjoyed visiting with family and friends and catching some sun. In idle moments she played solitaire and watched TV. (She even kept up with the Kardashians.)
Some years back, I bought a new chair for my deck and I put a matching chair out in front of Molly’s place. A couple days later, I looked down from my deck and saw her sitting in the chair, soaking in the late-afternoon sun. I was so pleased that I snapped a photo and sent it to Olga and Vicky. Less than a week later, the chair was gone. I couldn’t believe it. When I saw her housekeeper a day or two later, I exclaimed to her, “Betty, I can’t believe that someone would take Molly’s chair!” Betty told me, “No. She liked it so much that she put it in the house.” I bought a couple cheaper plastic chairs a week or so later and they have served Molly well.
I came to the Hirshberg Foundation in a quest for information when Liz’s sister and mom were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer months apart in 1998. They had the answer to our every question but what impressed me most was that the foundation existed for no greater purpose than to assist in any way they could. They still do and I have been involved with the foundation ever since.
Pancreatic cancer deaths overtook breast cancer deaths in the US in 2016 and the gap has already widened to nearly 15% (it’ll claim 50,000 lives this year) but that is little-known because there are so few survivors to talk about it. In 2005, we began a seed grant program to spur the pace of research because only research will change the course on the disease and pancreatic cancer research was grossly underfunded. The proceeds of this event are parceled into seed grants that go directly to pancreatic cancer researchers and we funded our 100th seed grant last year. My team alone has funded a number of them.
I will miss Molly’s sly smile but I am humbled that her family chose to honor her memory in this way.
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