The Altoona Mirror on 4th Annual Griff’s Run and Gun

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The Greg and Cathy Griffith Foundation held their fourth annual event on July 26, 27 and 28, which included a dinner and silent auction with a performance from Erin Willett of NBC’s The Voice, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, and a golf tournament.

Here’s what the local newspaper, The Altoona Mirror, had to say about the event:

Friday night’s community awareness dinner features three prestigious speakers: Dr. A. James Moser, executive director of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Institute of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery in Boston; Dr. Michael Barry, director of pastoral care from the Cancer Treatment Center of America the Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia; and Erin Willett, season two semi-finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” and an Ambassador of Hope for the Pancreatic Action Network.

The Griffith Family Foundation fundraising dollars benefits the research project of Dr. Moser and the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer, a support group founded by Moser.

Moser is a well-known name in the world of pancreatic cancer research. He and his partner, Dr. Herbert Zeh, treated professor Randy Pausch, famous for “The Last Lecture” before his death in 2008. He worked with hospitals across the nation, including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, before moving to Beth Israel Deaconess, an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital. Moser is currently working to open up a multidisciplinary pancreatic surgery center at the hospital.

Read the full article here.

Jack Andraka at the White House

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Jack and his mom, Jane Andraka

Jack Andraka, the teen prodigy who won first prize at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his early-detection test for pancreatic cancer, was a guest at the White House for the recent State of the Union address. Jack was one of Michelle Obama’s invited guests and sat in the First Lady’s box right next to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Forbes conducted an interview with Jack about his experience.

Mellie’s Mission in the Herald Standard, Uniontown, PA

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Mellie’s Mission, and their event, was featured in the Herald-Standard in an article entitled “Mellie’s Mission to host event to raise money for pancreatic cancer research”. Here is an excerpt:

Most recently, Mellie’s Mission joined forces with other families to form the “Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer.” It is the goal of the organization to assist the research of Dr. A. James Moser who formerly was co-director at UPMC Pancreatic Cancer Research in Pittsburgh, and who is now Director of Pancreatic Cancer research at Harvard University.

To date, Mellie’s Mission has raised $20,500 for Moser’s research.

J’s Run on WFMZ 69News in Allentown, PA

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Jennifer LoConte, president of J’s Run, and Laura Beaupre with Cancer Support Services at Lehigh Valley Health Network talk with WFMZ 69News in Allentown, PA during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month about the disease how J’s Run is helping in the fight. Click here or on the image below to view the video.

J's Run on WFMZ

Fortney Foundation, Dr. Moser, and AFFPC in North Hills Monthly Magazine

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The following is an excerpt from an article entitled “Level of Expertise Sets Surgeons at Hand and UpperEx Center Apart” by Vannesa Orr from North Hills Monthly Magazine. The article discusses surgeons who include Marshall L. Balk, M.D., the husband of Karen Fortney Balk, who is the founder of the John F. Fortney Charitable Pancreatic Cancer Research Group, and it later goes on the talk about Dr. Moser and the AFFPC.

Dr. Balk and his wife, Karen Fortney Balk, have taken this dedication to research even further through their establishment and support of the John F. Fortney Charitable Pancreatic Cancer Research Group. The foundation is named after Karen’s father, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006 and passed away in 2008. Throughout his illness, Fortney was treated by Dr. A. James Moser, MD, FACS, and he shared with his family his desire to support Dr. Moser’s innovative research.

Formerly the staff surgeon in the Division of Surgical Oncology at UPMC and the co-director of its multidisciplinary UPMC Pancreatic Cancer Center, Dr. Moser is considered a clinical innovator, internationally recognized as a leader in the application of robotic technology and minimally invasive approaches for the treatment of complex pancreatic disease. In 2010, he was named Researcher of the Year in pancreatic cancer research by the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Dr. Moser was recently named the executive director of the new Institute for Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, part of Harvard Medical School.

To date, the foundation has raised approximately $200,000, which they have donated to support Dr. Moser’s research. “Dr. Moser’s first goal is to establish the Minimally Invasive Pancreatic Surgery Registry to accumulate and analyze data from surgery for pancreatic cancer at 11 large hospitals across the country,” explained Karen Fortney Balk of how the funds are being used. “These funds continue to have a local impact, as UPMC is one of the institutions that is collaborating in this database.

“Once the database is underway, Dr. Moser’s aim is to link the genetic analysis of patient tumors removed surgically to patients’ survival,” she added. According to Dr. Moser, success in this area has been seen in the treatment of breast cancer, where a gene signature can now determine with tremendous accuracy whether or not a woman should be treated with chemotherapy.

The John F. Fortney Charitable Pancreatic Cancer Research Group recently became part of a larger group, The Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer (AFFPC). “AFFPC will fund the genetic portion of the tumor analysis, which we hope will lead to improved treatments for pancreatic cancer patients,” said Fortney Balk.”

Formation of the AFFPC

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We’re excited to announce the formation of the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer and the launch of this brand new website!

Thank you so much for taking time to visit the site. We hope that you find it informative and will join us in our fight against this terrible disease. We’ve seen first hand what this disease can do, and collectively we’ve had enough, and want to see things change. Pancreatic cancer treatment has gone unchanged for far too long. We want to transform pancreatic cancer treatment and bring it into the 21st Century!