Stefanie Wayco - Lustgarten Foundation: Pancreatic Cancer Research

Stefanie Wayco

Turning Grief Into Action

In 2017, my rock, my mother Rita, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – a diagnosis that was even more gut-wrenching because this disease took my grandmother in 2011. My mom bravely endured 16 rounds of the most aggressive chemotherapy, and when that stopped working, she enrolled in a clinical trial; however, she passed away before the trial began, leaving me to mourn the milestones and many years we should have enjoyed together. To cope with my grandmother’s and mother’s deaths, I have turned my grief into action. I led a team in memory of my grandmother at the Lustgarten Walk – New York City for seven years. In 2018, I organized the Lustgarten Walk – Atlanta in my hometown because I know my mother – a true warrior – would not have wanted her death to be in vain.. During the journey with my mother, we saw how far research has come and how far we still need to go. The Foundation has not only been an amazing contributor to this progress, but the Lustgarten team has become an extended family to me. They are an invaluable resource, but more importantly, Lustgarten is hope.

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