Lustgarten Foundation Flagship Walk Inspires Community and Raises Critical Dollars for Pancreatic Cancer Research
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23rd Annual Long Island Walk presented by Northwell Health Cancer Institute draws over 2,000 supporters & raises over $700,000 and counting in support of pancreatic cancer research.
JONES BEACH, N.Y., Oct 01, 2023 – Long Island residents touched by pancreatic cancer gathered for a morning of hope, remembrance, and action at Sunday’s Walk for Pancreatic Cancer Research at Jones Beach State Park. The annual Lustgarten Foundation Walk has raised more than $19 million since 2001, and 100% of all donations fund life-saving research.
“We believe community is power,” said Linda Tantawi, Lustgarten CEO. “Pancreatic cancer is a devasting disease; we are committed to supporting and elevating survivors, patients, family, friends, researchers, and healthcare providers. We remember those we have lost, honor those in the fight, and walk together to further our mission of transforming pancreatic cancer into a curable disease.”
The event was co-emceed by award-winning mother-daughter team Jennifer McLogan, CBS2 New York reporter, and Elle McLogan, digital reporter and host of “The Dig” for CBS2. This year’s Walk brought back Northwell Health Cancer Institute’s “Ask the Expert” activation. Participants spoke with Northwell Health nurse navigators, who offered important information for patients and their loved ones to navigate the often complex and overwhelming pancreatic cancer treatment and care process. Suffolk County, New York’s 67th Sheriff, and 20-year pancreatic cancer survivor, Errol Toulon Jr., inspired everyone with opening ceremony remarks on his experience with pancreatic cancer and the hope he wants to instill in others going through diagnosis and treatment. Madison Square Garden special guests New York Knicks Alumni, John Wallace, and New York Rangers Alumni, Tom Laidlaw also came out to show support and interact with participants as they prepared to walk.
“With thousands of New Yorkers walking together at Jones Beach, we are showing that the fight against pancreatic cancer is a team effort,” said Richard Barakat, MD, physician-in-chief, and director of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute. “Northwell’s collaboration with the Lustgarten Foundation and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is driving innovations to find the next big breakthrough in research to change the way we detect and treat this dreaded disease. Community events like this raise awareness for critical cancer research funding that provides the catalyst for new cutting-edge therapies.”
Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. This year, nearly 4,100 New Yorkers will be diagnosed with this disease—most blindsided by a late-stage diagnosis with few treatment options.
There is hope. The 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients has tripled since the Lustgarten Foundation was founded in 1998. The Foundation is accelerating research progress that is giving patients the best chance for survival.
Patients like Ilene Schuman, 69, an energetic preschool teacher and yoga enthusiast from Great Neck with no family history of cancer, who was stunned by her pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March 2022. Ms. Schulman went for routine testing before an unrelated procedure, when a spot was incidentally picked up on a sonogram. She had no symptoms and is grateful her cancer was caught very early. Through the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, in April 2022, Ms. Shulman had a Whipple procedure at the Zuckerberg Cancer Hospital at LIJ Medical Center. Ilene’s advice to others going through cancer: to stop and breathe, not worry about the future, be in the moment, and appreciate life.
“The Foundation started a revolution to cure pancreatic cancer, and we’re honored to collaborate with Northwell Health on this mission,” Tantawi added. “All donations fund the brightest, most creative minds in cancer research. We’ve built a powerful community of scientists who are working individually and collectively to unravel the mysteries of one of the most difficult and deadly cancers. Lustgarten-funded science has been a driving force in every major advancement in pancreatic cancer research for 25 years, including work toward earlier detection, drug development, and personalized medicine.”
For those interested in supporting the Long Island Walk, the event registration page, as well as individual and team fundraising pages, will remain open throughout 2023.