By Leslie N.
This year our family learned the devastating news that my father had pancreatic cancer. Having watched a very close friend pass one year earlier from this horrific disease, I was in disbelief. The thought of having to go through the experience of watching my father suffer at this time in his life was more than I could handle. But we’re fighters, and we circled our wagons and prepared ourselves for what we knew lie ahead.
My father is a retired doctor and very strong man but he was up against an opponent that was bigger and tougher than him. As I watched both he and my stepmom struggle I reached out to the Hirshberg Foundation for guidance on how I could help them help themselves. That one phone call literally changed my life and the path of our experience through this struggle.
First I learned that there were resources offering support to both the patient as well as family members in need. Second I learned how I could get involved in an organization that one day will help save the lives of my family members and friends. And third, but most important, I learned that there was a small group of people who had walked the walk, just a phone call away, available to comfort me at a moments’ notice. I immediately became part of a family who understood and sincerely cared.
While my father was going through chemotherapy and preparing for surgery my sister and I volunteered on the L.A. Cancer Challenge planning committee. And when my father had his surgery Agi, Amy and the Hirshberg Foundation team were by our side, offering support. Two weeks post-op our team Carabet’s Crew walked proudly in honor of our father who was recovering from the Whipple Procedure performed by the best of the best, Dr. Hines.
The LACC may not be the biggest 5k/10k around but in all my years of participating in similar events I have never felt the love, support and determination I experienced that morning. To be surrounded by so many people who care, understand and are working toward a common goal of curing pancreatic cancer gave us hope that one day we’ll be able to prevent other families from having to watch their loved ones suffer.