Why do I harangue my friends year after year?
This is the 26th Los Angeles Cancer Challenge and this is my 26th as well. I have been here since day one and I consider this a lifelong commitment.
It's been 25 years since Liz's sister and mom were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 20 years since team namesake Heather was diagnosed. The incidence of pancreatic cancer has more than doubled from 29,000 new cases in 1998 to more than 64,000 new cases this year. We have made progress in fighting the disease but survival rates remain dismally poor and the steady growth of the disease has outstripped those gains such that pancreatic deaths are up 76% over the same period. Pancreatic cancer deaths surpassed breast cancer deaths in the US in 2016 and the gap has already widened to 20%. It's on the verge of overtaking colon cancer!
A dozen team members have lost family members to pancreatic cancer and dozens more of us have lost dear friends, capped by Lisa Knight four years ago and Walter Koch a year later.
Pancreatic cancer is a vicious and unforgiving disease and we need to marshal everything we can to combat it. Research is the only thing that will change the needle on pancreatic cancer and we parcel the proceeds of this event into seed grants that go directly to pancreatic cancer researchers, sowing seeds of innovation, so please join me in memory of those we have lost and in honor of those we have yet to meet.
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