april 9, 2009



EL SEGUNDO, CA – (April 9, 2009) – The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the only national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure, announces its inaugural Volunteer Award winners. The 2009 awards recognize outstanding volunteers who advance the mission of the organization in local communities around the country.

“The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network salutes the 2009 Volunteer Award winners. Volunteers are critical to the success of our organization and in furthering our mission every day in communities around the country,” stated Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “The passion and commitment from these individuals are unparalleled and we are grateful for their continued support and efforts.”

The 2009 Volunteer Awards and their winners are as follows:

Rookie Affiliate of the Year -- Austin, TX Affiliate
In less than two years, the Austin Affiliate has made great progress in their community to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer and is recognized for holding nine local events, in addition to obtaining six proclamations for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. The teams’ efforts helped raise $1,200 at their first fundraiser.

Affiliate of the Year -- Manhattan Affiliate
The Manhattan Affiliate, led by Ann Natyzak, has a volunteer base of over 1000 New York area residents and hosts an annual event, “Cookin’ Up a Cure”, which raises $50,000 with 400 attendees. The efforts of the Affiliate have been acknowledged through a proclamation by New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. In addition to their annual event they host numerous local outreach activities and attend several health fairs.

Affiliate Coordinator of the Year -- Theresa Dukovich – Pittsburgh, PA Affiliate
Dukovich has been a volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network since 2004 and is an outstanding leader for the Affiliate. She promotes the organizations mission by hosting a number of events throughout the year, including “Pick Up the Pace”, mini-symposiums, bookstore promotions and has also initiated partnerships throughout the community with Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh Pancreatic Cancer Center and Gilda’s Club.

Advocacy Coordinator of the Year -- Susan Okula – National Capital Area Affiliate
Okula was recognized for her efforts during Advocacy Day and for obtaining eight local proclamations for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November. She is also acknowledged for coordinating a meeting with volunteers and Congressman Steny Hoyer.

Media Representative of the Year -- Robin Moore – Austin, TX Affiliate
Moore has demonstrated an outstanding ability to raise awareness through media in the Austin area. She was interviewed numerous times throughout the year by local radio and newspapers.

Education and Outreach Coordinator of the Year- Janie Mock – Austin, TX Affiliate
As a charter member of the Austin affiliate, Mock visits doctor’s offices and cancer centers to distribute Patient and Liaison Services information and promotes the patient services of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Event Coordinator of the Year –Renita Van Dusen – Twin Cities Affiliate
The most recent event raised over $370,000. She is so dedicated to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network that she postponed her honeymoon for PurpleRide.

Community Representative of the Year – John Harris – Kentucky
Harris is a five year survivor of pancreatic cancer and in his Kentucky community he has gained media attention on his efforts to raise awareness of the disease and has been recognized by the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Founder’s Award -- Toni Dachis – Twin Cities Affiliate
Dachis has been involved with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network for nine years, serving five on the Board of Directors. During her tenure, she has helped raise over $1.5 million for the organization and inspires her volunteers every day through her passion and commitment to the cause.

Randy Pausch Award -- Peggy Kessler – Member of the Survivor and Caregiver Network
Kessler is an eight year survivor of pancreatic cancer and a valuable resource for the PanCAN Patient Services Survivor and Caregiver Support Network. She touches the lives of many people affected by this disease and is positive, encouraging, humorous, and empathetic. Not only is she an inspiration to the community, she is an active spokeswoman for the disease and the urgent need for more research funding.

To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or to join the fight against the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, visit www.pancan.org.

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the only national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization raises money for direct private funding of research—and advocates for more aggressive federal research funding of medical breakthroughs in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network fills the void of information and options by giving patients and caregivers reliable, personalized information they need to make informed decisions. We create a sense of hope and community so no one has to face pancreatic cancer alone. The organization helps support individuals and communities all across the country to work together to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.


Jennifer Rosen
Senior Manager, Public Relations
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Direct: 310-706-3362