Donor Spotlight: Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation
The Lustgarten Foundation’s cross-country partnership with the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation began in 2005, when a public service announcement featuring former President Jimmy Carter urging support for pancreatic cancer research caught the eye of Eric Schwartz as he sat watching television from his California-based home. Eric understood all-too-well the need for stepped-up research into the cause and cure of this disease: In December 1978, Eric’s father, Bernard, died of pancreatic cancer only one month after receiving a diagnosis.
After seeing The Lustgarten Foundation’s PSA, Eric and his brother Michael reached out to learn more about the organizations’ work. Unfortunately, during this same time, the brothers’ close friend, James Pugash, was diagnosed with the very disease that took the life of their father more than 25 years earlier. James succumbed to the disease in September 2006, and the brothers were discouraged to realize that over the course of nearly three decades, the average length of survival for individuals facing pancreatic cancer had improved by mere months. They knew they had to join the fight.
"It would be a fitting tribute to my father that the Foundation named in his honor could help change the face of pancreatic cancer..."
In 2005, the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation made a multi-year pledge totaling $75,000 to The Lustgarten Foundation in support of promising pancreatic cancer research. In 2008, the Schwartz family strengthened its commitment with an increased pledge totaling $150,000 in support of the Foundation’s Early Detection Biomarker Initiative.
“We have been impressed by the scope and quality of the research being supported by The Lustgarten Foundation,” says Michael Schwartz. “The Biomarker Initiative holds real promise for the eventual development of a blood test to detect this disease in its earliest stages, when the chances for a cure are greatest. It would be a fitting tribute to my father that the Foundation named in his honor could help change the face of pancreatic cancer for the more than 42,000 people diagnosed each year.”
The Lustgarten Foundation is proud to stand in partnership with west coast allies, Michael and Eric Schwartz and the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation, in the fight against pancreatic cancer.