By Sebastian B.
My Dad has been one of my greatest inspirations from a very young age. My Dad has been my rock, fueling and motivating me to pursue my dreams, my goals, and my ambitions. He encouraged me to pursue my passion for the sciences – driving me to my first science fair, helping me balance equations, concocting zany science experiments. When my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2013, I truly felt as if the world had been pulled away from under my feet.
After joining a clinical trial, my Dad underwent the Whipple Procedure, proton radiation and lengthy chemotherapy. His relentless energy, fueled by the support system built by our family and friends, proved to be the best healing therapy he could possibly receive. I feel unspeakably fortunate that over three years later, he is in remission with only a 15% chance of recurrence.
I recently relocated to the Los Angeles area from the East Coast where I grew up. I was searching for a home away from home, a community who could relate to my family’s experience with pancreatic cancer. The Hirshberg Foundation proved to be exactly the community I was searching for; they are a driven group of passionate team members who are committed to fighting a devastating disease. My experience this Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month means joining the efforts of the Hirshberg Foundation. The Hirshberg Foundation welcomed me with open arms as a volunteer for their fall 2016 LA Cancer Challenge. Their motto – “Pancreatic cancer is relentless. Fortunately so are we.” – speaks volumes about the ceaseless energy they put towards their fundraising, event coordination, and community action.
This very combination of science and community, of intricate treatment and collective support, forms the foundation of not only my Dad’s ongoing treatment and recovery, but countless others. I am inspired to enter the field of cancer research and treatment myself, and carry the encouragement and energy of my Dad.