Our hearts are broken at the news of the passing of Lustgarten friend, Steve Price of New York, NY. A passionate and insightful pancreatic cancer advocate and patient, Steve understood the urgency of moving the research along quickly and the importance of investing in the most innovative science with the greatest opportunity to drive real progress. Steve kept up with every advancement and promoted the Lustgarten- funded Organoids for Personalized Therapy research study at the Lustgarten Foundation Dedicated Pancreatic Cancer Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor Lab. In the study, researchers develop organoids—a revolutionary 3D cell culture—from patients’ pancreatic tumors to analyze its genetics, biology and drug sensitivity to determine the most effective chemotherapy regimen.
Shortly after Steve participated in Lustgarten’s New York City Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk, that happened to be emceed by his brother Dave Price, a journalist and weather forecaster with WNBC-TV in New York City. A week after the walk, Steve wrote to the Foundation:
“I came home from Sunday’s event filled with optimism. At the risk of stating the obvious, what Lustgarten is doing means a great deal to me and others like me. Yesterday, when I told a new patient pal in my doctor, Allyson Ocean’s office, about the 1000 people gathered to fight for us, I saw her pain ease and her spirit lift. I’ll be wearing my “HOPE” hat with pride when I go in for chemo tomorrow. More importantly, I’ll be holding that message in my heart as I work toward earning the right to wear the hat that says “SURVIVOR.”
Steve’s cancer experience led to Dave joining the board of directors for Let’s Win Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. An affiliate of the Lustgarten Foundation, Let’s Win is an interactive online community where patients and families share information and experiences about new, innovative science-driven treatments and learn about the latest research breakthroughs and clinical trials in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
As much as Steve admired the Lustgarten Foundation, we admired him even more. We echo the sentiments Dave posted following Steve’s death:
“Today, my incredible brother, Steve, passed away from Pancreatic Cancer. His death is simply shattering to all of us who loved him—and who were loved so much by him. He was a beautiful example of goodness and heart and soul and righteousness and intellect and personality—the ‘ands’ could just continue on.
My brother fought his disease with determination, vigor, positivity and selflessness. Throughout his whole ordeal, he never stopped giving: sharing his love, imparting his knowledge and extending his friendship to everyone who crossed his path or walked it with him. He left us with learnings that will help those who battle cancer in the future, do so with even greater success and less suffering.
It would be easy to slide into despair today and just focus on Steve’s loss — but as much as I hurt, I am grateful. Doctors, nurses, medical staff, social workers, volunteers, advocates, friends, family and complete strangers locked arms with Steve and gave us 4 1/2 years that we never expected. Every day was hard-fought and won. Every day was precious.
Someday it will become more common to survive this dreadful disease and someday Pancreatic Cancer will be conquered — and when that happens, we’ll have the medical ‘saints’ who cared for Steve to thank. But credit will go to my brother as well, for he was not just a patient, but a full partner in his treatment and its success.
I miss Steve so much already—and I will forever, but he left me with an enduring gift: A model for how to lead a meaningful life. I will hold his memory close for the rest of my days and forever be proud of the way he lived.
We send our deepest condolences to the Price family. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.