From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful for your generous heart and all that you do for everyone facing pancreatic cancer and those who are working to find a cure. This year was another one for the books – despite ongoing challenges from the global pandemic, you continued to support pancreatic cancer patients and families like never before.
Our community agrees and wants to thank you themselves.
So here, in your annual Impact Report 2021, please accept these “Love Letters to You” for all that you do. You fund research, support patients and families, fundraise, attend PanCAN PurpleStride, advocate for more federal research funding, volunteer. And the list goes on and on.
I also want to introduce you to my friend and PanCAN Board member Lisa Kulok. Lisa lost her mom to pancreatic cancer and has not slowed down. Much like you, she’s taken control and worked harder than ever to get things done.
Your Impact Report is narrated by Lisa, who shares a letter she’s written to her dear mom Carol - who was compassionate and giving, just like you. And she’ll introduce other grateful PanCAN family members to you along the way.
Thank you for being the heart of PanCAN. Without you, we simply wouldn’t exist.
With tremendous gratitude,
Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA
President and Chief Executive Officer
I can’t believe that you left us five years ago. I still think of you every day. Your spirit is very much alive and well. I feel it every day, and I see it, too.
You would be very happy to know that I am getting even more involved with PanCAN. I understand so much more about the organization you loved and were inspired by. I have met so many incredibly passionate and generous donors who make their work possible. They remind me of you and your huge, compassionate heart. Like you, PanCAN supporters have a commitment to helping anyone, anywhere, anytime. Like you, they go out of their way to give back.
I know the PanCAN family meant so much to you and that their support gave you the courage to keep fighting. Your wish was to be healthy enough to support and contribute more. I’m fortunate that I get to do that, to carry your bright light forward and honor you. There are so many people just like you, helping where the need is greatest and finding joy in doing so.
I’ve asked some of these people to help me thank all those who support PanCAN. Their “love letters” saying thank you are here, in this year’s PanCAN Impact Report.
Mom, I can’t think of a better way to pay tribute to you and all those facing pancreatic cancer, than to read these beautiful stories.
*Lisa Kulok is a member of the PanCAN Board of Directors. She is also a donor, PanCAN PurpleStride sponsor and fundraiser.
- You’ve funded 218 grants to 203 scientists at 75 institutions to date.
- This year, you awarded seven Career Development Awards, two Fellowships and four projects that target several key areas including PanCAN Precision PromiseSM, our Early Detection Initiative and diversity and inclusion-related research. We invested $22 million in research, a new record.
- Our cumulative research investment is now more than $149 million, thanks to you.
- PanCAN published six papers this year in prestigious medical journals.
- Our Early Detection Initiative was introduced and will look at the connection between new onset diabetes and pancreatic cancer.
- 100 patients enrolled in PanCAN’s Precision Promise clinical trial platform.
Dear reader, I’ve gotten to meet several pancreatic cancer researchers and they are incredible. They are working hard to change the future of pancreatic cancer. They get to do this because of you. - Lisa
You’re the reason I went into pancreatic cancer research.
Without you, I can safely say I would probably not have developed this passion and commitment to pancreatic cancer research and patient care.
Receiving PanCAN research grants ignited what was previously just a nascent interest. It has grown to be the focus of my research and clinical efforts. It has helped me to be a better mentor and teacher of future clinicians and scientists.
Thank you for everything you do. I am forever indebted to you and your support. It came at a critical early point in my career.
Weill Cornell Medicine
You Gave Options
with Precision Promise
- Because of you, all original 15 Precision Promise clinical trial sites are open and five new sites are in the process of opening.
- Two new investigational studies have been added.
- More patients are now eligible for Precision Promise because we expanded eligibility requirements.
- You’ve made sure that patients who are participating get free pancreatic enzymes, if needed, as part of the Precision Promise supportive care offering.
PanCAN has come so far with Precision Promise – its very own clinical trial platform. You’re the reason! - Lisa
Dear PanCAN donor,
Thank you for giving PanCAN the opportunity to lead the efforts to promote cutting-edge research and provide hope and support to patients and their families as they battle pancreatic cancer.
My wife Irene and I support Precision Promise because it meaningfully impacts positive patient treatment outcomes. My late wife, Cari, and her mother 25 years earlier, passed away from pancreatic cancer. I was angry and frustrated by the lack of treatment advances and improved patient outcomes over that 25-year period.
PanCAN, with Precision Promise, is executing on a plan to do just that: improve patient outcomes.
As we have children, and now grandchildren, it is critically important to Irene and me that the future is brighter for them. Supporting research and development efforts aimed at ensuring this brighter future for pancreatic cancer patients is something we are proud to be even a small part of.
Again, thank you for providing PanCAN and pancreatic cancer researchers the means to lead and help us achieve our goals. It means everything to us.
All the best,
Proud supporter of PanCAN Precision Promise
You Are a Beacon
in the Storm
- We speak with more pancreatic cancer patients and families than any other organization in the world.
- Patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals called upon PanCAN Patient Services over 45,000 times this past year for free, personalized support and resources. To date, Patient Services has had over 300,000 interactions. Thank you for making this service possible!
- You’re making sure patients and caregivers more easily get the information they need – because of you, we could digitize our patient packets for easier sharing, and offer more materials in Spanish.
This letter from Frank brought back the same feelings I had when we used Patient Services – and you may feel the same. - Lisa
Hello PanCAN family member,
I’ve been a volunteer with the PanCAN Chicago Affiliate for 10 years now, and I’ve recommended PanCAN Patient Services to so many people who asked me for help and information.
I just wanted to say thank you for making Patient Services available to people. I only wish I had known about them back when my wife and brother were diagnosed.
We often hear people say PanCAN was a beacon in the storm for them when they or their loved one was diagnosed. That’s so true. And so are you.
A friend’s husband was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, and she called me for advice. I recommended she contact Patient Services to get free, personalized help from their highly trained staff.
She did, and they got thoughtful answers. She said that by talking to a Patient Services case manager, her husband felt more at peace throughout his 18-month battle.
There are endless stories like this one. None of them would be possible without you.
Thank you all again,
PanCAN Volunteer Advisory Council
You Helped More
Treatments That Were
Right for Them
Patients who receive treatment based on their biology have better outcomes. This year, nearly 350 patients enrolled in PanCAN’s Know Your Tumor precision medicine service, which provides biomarker and genetic testing for patients. More than 2,650 patients have enrolled to date.
Teona is a member of the PanCAN Survivor Council. She knows, as do I, that pancreatic cancer survivors are here today because your gifts extend their lives. Thank you! - Lisa
Dear PanCAN supporters,
April Fool’s Day, 2016. This was the day I was told I had pancreatic cancer.
I had been dealing with excruciating back and stomach pain for awhile and doctors thought I just had a cyst.
I was only 41 and knew nothing about pancreatic cancer. But luckily, I did know to call PanCAN right away. I spoke with a PanCAN Patient Services case manager and thanks to them – and YOU – I found treatments that were right for me. I got genetic testing and tumor testing through PanCAN’s Know Your Tumor® precision medicine service, something I only knew about because I called PanCAN.
I want everyone to know – and I especially feel strongly about the Black community knowing – that PanCAN is a resource for them if they are faced with pancreatic cancer. That PanCAN is there for them and their families and that they can help people get tested through Know Your Tumor and find treatments that can help them.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be an advocate for all of these people.
Five-year pancreatic cancer survivor
You Gave Patients
a Hand to Hold Through
- Because of you, we were able to help patients with 9,500 clinical trial searches this year, and there have been nearly 87,000 searches since we built our Clinical Trial Finder.
- People continued to be able to contribute information about their treatment, care and side effects to the PanCAN Patient Registry – this will inform research and help patients for years to come.
- When patients had questions about the pandemic, you made sure they got the answers they needed. We hosted a special COVID-19 webinar series and helped them with concerns about treatment access and more.
- Over 700 healthcare professionals served as PanCAN Patient Champions, a group dedicated to referring pancreatic cancer patients to us for more information, services and resources.
I set up the annual Carol Kulok Award for Compassion at PanCAN this year, in honor of my mom, and it was given to this compassionate, extraordinary PanCAN Patient Services case manager, Sheehan AlRabie. Please take a moment to read her heartfelt letter. - Lisa
I speak to patients, caregivers, friends, family members and healthcare professionals about pancreatic cancer every day. I answer their questions, help them access resources and services, and am there for them as they navigate the disease. Sharing in every step of their journey.
This has meant so much to me. It is truly a great feeling knowing that I’m able to help patients and families, during what is often the most difficult time in their life.
Many people put their trust in PanCAN to help them make informed decisions regarding their care. We’re here for them to discuss treatment options, pancreatic cancer specialists and more. We work together with them to ensure they are on the right track at every point in their diagnosis.
I hear from patients that PanCAN has given them hope. That is invaluable to me.
Without you, we would not be able to serve patients and caregivers.
I am so grateful for you. Thank you for allowing us to make a difference.
PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager
You Helped More
Treatments That Were
Right for Them
- Over 24,000 of you walked, biked, and even rode horses in support of pancreatic cancer patients as part of PanCAN PurpleStride 2021, because events were still virtual due to the pandemic. And now that PurpleStride will be back in person on April 30, 2022, we can’t wait to see you again!
- You raised nearly $9.4 million through PurpleStride.
- Celebrity teams were out in full force for PanCAN PurpleStride Los Angeles, including Team Trek Against Pancreatic Cancer, Team Nicky Trebek, Team Dan Fogelman and the Cedars-Sinai Whipplers led by Dr. Nick Nissen.
- PanCAN Wage Hope My Way and Facebook fundraisers raised a total of $4.5 million. You were so creative with events – there were virtual concerts, mountain treks and 24-hour runs!
As a PanCAN PurpleStride sponsor who went with Mom to several of these events (she loved them!), I know how important it is for fundraising, community and so much more. I also want to congratulate and thank fellow fundraiser Dr. Nick Nissen of the Cedars-Sinai Whipplers for being the number-one highest fundraiser in PurpleStride’s history! - Lisa
Dear PanCAN supporter,
So, I am not usually a walk person, but PanCAN PurpleStride is changing my mind. I am so humbled by the passion, sincerity, efficiency and success shown at PurpleStride! Such a supportive, caring community.
You give survivors like me a place to reflect and a space to connect – at PurpleStride and beyond, while your selfless actions and generous contributions help provide the resources that will save our lives. You are right there in the community, not only supporting PanCAN but also offering a much-needed empathetic point of view.
All of this directly translates to better outcomes! That’s very true in my case.
Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do!
You Used Your Voices
for Good on Capitol Hill
In June, close to 2,000 of you attended “Voices in Action,” an evening of heartfelt stories and impact that kicked off PanCAN Action Week. Thank you!
- You made over 12,000 calls and emails to Congress, reaching all 100 Senators and over two-thirds of the House of Representatives.
- You got 31 bipartisan signatures on our Senate Dear Colleague letter, plus 119 signatures on the House Dear Colleague Letter – the most ever! – in support of $20 million in dedicated funding for pancreatic cancer.
- NCI funding for pancreatic cancer has increased 900% since your efforts began and it continues to climb. Most recently, federal funding for pancreatic cancer hit $182 million.
- Last year, you urged Congress to increase the federal investment in the dedicated pancreatic cancer research program at the DoD from $6 million to $15 million, and they did!
Ian and Beth Slepian are making a difference in so many ways as Beth fights pancreatic cancer – through advocacy AND PurpleStride, where they raised $20,000 last year and more than $10,000 so far for PurpleStride 2022 – wow! - Lisa
Dear PanCAN advocate,
We want to thank you, pharmaceutical sponsors, donors to our PanCAN PurpleStride team and Team Beth and Ian, for helping make treatment possible for Beth and the other 60,000 new pancreatic cancer patients diagnosed this year.
You help PanCAN advocate for further research, provide patient and caregiver services and be a source of cutting-edge information and education.
This past June during PanCAN Action Week, Beth participated in virtual meetings with our Maryland members of Congress as she was getting infusions in a clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This type of commitment underlies the necessity and benefit of these efforts.
We’re very appreciative of the Maryland delegation in Congress, as well as the bi-partisan support from across the country to fund NIH, National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Department of Defense cancer research.
You’re making pancreatic cancer a national priority.
Beth, who after 111 rounds of chemotherapy and counting, a PARP inhibitor, five liver biopsies, and a radioembolization procedure, is a five-year and five-month survivor of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Maryland Affiliate advocate and PurpleStride fundraiser
the Nation Purple
Ambassadors for this cause were many this past year, and you were among them. The national spotlight was on pancreatic cancer in a big way, and this led to more exposure than ever.
- Actor, writer and producer/director Mindy Kaling brought more attention to the cause than ever before when she served as the face of our Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month campaign in November 2020.
- For the 17th straight year, PanCAN received the highest rating you can get from nonprofit evaluator Charity Navigator, which means we are accountable, transparent and financially healthy.
- Julie Fleshman, PanCAN president and CEO, was named the “Nonprofit Executive of the Year” by Los Angeles Business Journal.
We lost too many of our best and brightest last year – Alex Trebek, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Rep. John Lewis and so many more…perhaps even someone in your own family. Thankfully we have so many, like you, working hard to change the story of pancreatic cancer. - Lisa
Dear PanCAN family member,
Thank you for standing with PanCAN and using your voice and dollars to amplify ours. Because pancreatic cancer is typically diagnosed way too late, we rely on you to help us deliver our message and improve patient survival.
After losing my champion and biggest supporter, my dad, Richard Holtz, to stage IV pancreatic cancer within just a few months of diagnosis, I found myself traumatized from watching him suffer.
Nothing can take away that experience, but I now have hope and am also incredibly inspired by people in the public eye – Mindy Kaling, Kitty Swink, Armin Shimerman, Jonathan Frakes, Lisa Niemi Swayze, and Jen Landon, to name a few – who have brought much more attention to pancreatic cancer.
While nothing can bring back my dad, I know that PanCAN will keep trying to find new treatments, improving survival, and ultimately, saving the lives of our loved ones.
PanCAN cannot make these investments and help move the needle without you. Thank you for standing with PanCAN and raising your voice.
We couldn’t do this without you.
Affiliate Chair, Washington, D.C
You Helped Us
by Creating a Legacy that Provides Hope for Today and Tomorrow
Your gifts, large and small, are so needed! And there are so many ways to give. I’ve left a gift in my will to PanCAN, and my friend Mark has, too. Read on to learn why. - Lisa
Dear PanCAN family,
My wife, Erica, passed away in 2019 after a 22-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Her diagnosis came out of nowhere in April 2017. Stage III – a complete surprise. Until we found PanCAN, we thought it was over. But PanCAN helped us understand more, and they gave us hope, and that hope turned into Erica surviving 22 months.
Erica and I were both attorneys and had a trust and will done already. During those 22 months, Erica and I talked with our three kids about leaving a legacy in honor of my wife to make sure that when we’re gone, PanCAN can continue to provide hope and help to the next folks who will need it. I’m grateful we had that opportunity. I encourage you to consider doing the same.
PanCAN Legacy Donor
“We’ll Get It Done,”
With Your Help
We all still mourn the passing of Alex Trebek. He brought so much awareness to pancreatic cancer. His daughter, Nicky, wanted to thank you for all that you do. - Lisa
I wanted to thank you for doing so much good for PanCAN, patients and families and even my own dad, Alex Trebek. PanCAN works so hard to help people who are struggling after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis – people like our family – and they can only do that with your support.
I know my dad appreciated your determination and bold action to make a difference. Let’s stay relentless in working together to put an end to pancreatic cancer. We can do it!
In the words of my dad, “We’ll Get It Done!”
Proud daughter of Alex Trebek
PanCAN’s vision is to create a world in which all patients with pancreatic cancer will thrive.
Our mission is to take bold action to improve the lives of everyone impacted by pancreatic cancer by advancing scientific research, building community, sharing knowledge and advocating for patients.
Your Gifts at Work
PanCAN is dedicated to using your gifts wisely and maintaining full transparency.
For the 17th consecutive year, we received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator – you put your trust in us and we take that very seriously.
Only 21 of the more than 9,000 organizations rated have received this rating with the same consistency.
See how your dollars were put to work in fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021).
Speed up progress against pancreatic cancer.
Donate to PanCAN to support research breakthroughs that can lead to an early detection strategy and improved patient outcomes.