PanCAN works to ‘light up the night with hope’ Oct. 25

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

On Thursday evening, Oct. 25, St. Louis will have the opportunity to “Light Up the Night with Hope” at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium at the St. Louis Science Center to raise funds for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). This is the first major PanCAN fundraiser being held in St. Louis.

St. Louis radio personality and attorney Don Wolff will be the master of ceremonies for the fun-filled event. The evening includes a light dinner buffet, beverages and the chance to bid on more than 100 items at the silent and live auction called by professional auctioneer Bruce Schneider. Entertainment will be provided by pianist Dave Venn who was named best local pianist in St. Louis by the Riverfront Times.

“The evening will support research for early detection, treatments, cures and public awareness of pancreatic cancer,” event chairman Bobbie Ring said. “We will be celebrating our survivors, honoring those still fighting the disease and remembering our loved ones.”

The national organization was established in 1999. Volunteers across the United States help focus attention on the disease by providing information and patient services and raising funds for research grants to find more methods for early detection, treatments and prevention.

The Oct. 25 event is also important to bring attention to the local PanCAN organization which provides invaluable support for individuals diagnosed with the disease, their loved ones and physicians. Advocates help keep doctors up-to-date on the latest advances in treatments and provide information to patients.

The recent death of beloved tenor Luciano Pavarotti from pancreatic cancer has brought new attention to this deadly form of cancer. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and yet is one of the most underfunded in terms of research dollars. The Jewish community has a heightened interest in the disease since it is proportionally more common in Jews, with a greater risk for Ashkenazi Jews than Sephardic Jews.

In April 2007, the national organization held its first ever lobby day in Washington, D.C. St. Louisians Maris Berg, Susan Dertke Hendin and Ring joined with more than 160 advocates from across the United States at the event. They lobbied members of Congress to raise awareness, give updates on treatments available and to gain support for more dollars for federal research funding. They also asked Congress to proclaim November Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Tickets for Light Up the Night with Hope are $75 per person. Complimentary valet parking will be available. For tickets or more information on pancreatic cancer call 314-432-4090 or visit www.pancan.org/lightstlouis.

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