Nancy's story

“The Lustgarten Foundation helped save my life.”


Grief. Despair. Disbelief. Nancy Platt has lived through all of it…and more. Not only did she lose three of the dearest people in her life—her mother, daughter, and husband—to pancreatic cancer, Nancy had a close call with the disease herself.

It started more than 40 years ago. Like so many others whose lives have been touched by this devastating disease, Nancy’s world changed in a matter of moments when she learned her mother had pancreatic cancer. “This was just the beginning of the disease’s vise-like grip on my family,” Nancy revealed.

Two decades after her mother’s diagnosis and death, panic again took hold of Nancy’s heart. She simply could not comprehend one of her daughters, Debbie, had the same disease. Debbie herself was a mother with two young children. “I was completely blindsided and after three grueling months, I lost my beautiful daughter when she was just 37 years old,” Nancy said.

Still reeling from her unthinkable losses, Nancy confronted her own health crisis. After some suspicious test results, Nancy’s doctor referred her to Dr. Marcia Canto, who was leading the Lustgarten-funded Cancer of the Pancreas Screening (CAPS) Study at Johns Hopkins, the first national screening study for people with an inherited predisposition for pancreatic cancer.

“My pancreas was riddled with precancerous cysts that would eventually turn into cancer. Having my pancreas removed was the only chance I had for improving my odds of not getting the disease myself,” shared Nancy.

But the disease was relentless. Ten years after her surgery, and 17 years after Debbie passed away, Nancy’s beloved husband Sam was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Despite undergoing treatment, he passed away only eight months later.

Nancy’s harrowing story proves anyone can be impacted by pancreatic cancer. Despite her heartache, this courageous grandmother refuses to feel sorry for herself. Instead, she puts her energy into helping others. She and her surviving daughter, Laura, and her son, Neil, are dedicated supporters of the Lustgarten Foundation. They share their family’s story and have participated in the Foundation’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk in Maryland, with the hope of motivating others to give. “I want people to know the Lustgarten Foundation helped save my life,” Nancy said.

Nancy’s life has been irrevocably altered by pancreatic cancer, yet she has hope. “I know firsthand just how profoundly pancreatic cancer can ravage a family. Your support can change the future for others. Please give to the Lustgarten Foundation…breakthroughs are within reach!”

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