LA Cancer Challenge

Family Thanksgiving, November 2013
Family Thanksgiving, November 2013

Team Marlene


Our team is so excited to be participating in the LA Cancer Challenge 5K/10K Run/Walk at UCLA in honor of my mother Marlene Russo. The LACC helps the Hirshberg Foundation raise money to fund research and programs designed to improve patient care, offer better treatment options and, ultimately find a cure for pancreatic cancer.

As most of you know, my mom Marlene Russo was diagnosed with this terrible disease in January 2014. It’s been almost three years now since her diagnosis of stage IV pancreatic cancer. The past few years have been extremely challenging between the side effects of the Whipple procedure (surgery) and chemotherapy that causes certain nerve discomfort and bone fragility. Last year, my mother received the Spirit Award from The National Pancreas Foundation and we were all very proud! One week after receiving the award she broke three ribs and fractured her pelvis from dancing at an event. She recovered well at an inpatient facility for three weeks and then returned home. A few weeks later, she fell at home and dislocated her shoulder. At this point, she was taken off her chemo regimen, and a clinical trial. Her scan last February showed that a small second spot appeared on her liver. She was put back on chemo again. Unfortunately this spot had doubled in size when she went for her next scan (we hold our breath the day she gets these scans). As a result, she was put on a very aggressive form of chemo. The side effects were extremely difficult but she made it through the prescribed regimen. The good news is that the cancer has not grown much since, and she is now hoping to enter an immuno-therapy phase one clincial trial. My mother continues to spend time with family and friends shopping, playing mahjong, cards and going out to dinner. I am thankful for each and every day I share with her, and I pray that science will advance more quickly to find a cure for this horrible and challenging disease.

Join me and my family as we run or walk for "Team Marlene" on October 30th to remember those we have lost and celebrate those who are currently battling this disease. If you'd like to support us but can't make it (we will miss you), please consider contributing towards our fundraising efforts. Together we can make a huge difference in the battle against pancreatic cancer. This cause is very important to me and my family and I hope you will consider joining my team or making a donation. 

Thank you for your consideration and support!



To learn more about The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Reserach go to




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