The John A. Braeckel Family Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research

People describe pancreatic cancer as “insidious” and “nasty”. I understand why. As I’ve written in the past, pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect. It is often only discovered after the tumor is large enough that it presents little hope for resection and limited treatment options. The five-year survival rate hasn’t markedly improved in the past 30 years, and remains by far the lowest among common cancers at just 6%.DekeChemo 224x300 The John A. Braeckel Family Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Other more common diagnoses have seen funding increase dramatically. Their survival rates show the impact. One of the most pronounced examples is prostate cancer, where the five-year survival rate has gone from 68% in 1975 to essentially 100% in the last decade.

Pancreatic cancer remains the fourth-leading killer among all cancers in the United States, even though it is the ninth-most commonly diagnosed at about 45,000 cases per year.

Hearing those statistics about someone you love is sobering, to say the least. I remember my exact reaction when I heard my mom tell me the prognosis. My jaw dropped. All I could say was “What?!” in disbelief.

It’s been a challenging year for my family: learning all about pancreatic cancer; learning just what the heck a Whipple Procedure is; seeing that procedure turn into a total pancreatectomy to remove the tumor. My father and family have learned to deal with insulin-dependent diabetes. And the fight continues

We’ve dealt with this trial in different ways:

  • My sister, Cyn, took several weeks off from work and spent every night in the hospital with my dad after his surgery, rarely leaving his side;
  • We were all able to be with Dad on the morning of his surgery, and waited the long hours in the lounge hoping for good news;
  • We’ve visited, called, and sent text messages to each other more often than our otherwise busy (and sometimes trivially so) lives normally dictate;
  • My sister Keely started a team for PurpleStride Indianapolis, and thanks to the generosity of many friends, we raised over $5500 for pancreatic cancer research;
  • I started a blog (in case you hadn’t noticed!!), and returned to racing triathlons in hopes of raising awareness amongst even a small group of people;
  • My wife and I will join my parents in the San Diego PurpleStride 5K run/walk on October 13th. (If you’d like to join us, visit my team page and join by clicking here!)

My family is not one to take things lying down. I think we get that from my dad (he’s of German descent, and thus extremely stubborn!), and my mom has always been a “woman of action”.

This hasn’t been any different.

Well, my mom and dad are taking it a step further:

I am excited to announce the founding of the John A. Braeckel Family Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Survivor 300x225 The John A. Braeckel Family Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research

The Survivor.

Gifts to this account support pancreatic cancer research in the Department of Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and specifically the work of Dr. Michael House. Dr. House has been a light in an otherwise dark time for my family. Along with a host of other medical professionals, Dr. House gave my dad a good chance to be among the 6% that survive this “insidious” and “nasty” disease.

My parents wanted to give back to Dr. House and the IU Simon Cancer Center, specifically for pancreatic cancer research. Dr. House’s research is specific to surgical treatment options for pancreatic malignancies. As he was the surgeon who removed my father’s pancreas (and thus his tumor), my family hopes to further Dr. House’s efforts to afford others the opportunity to enjoy life after pancreatic cancer.

LINK TO GIVE: If you would like to give to the fund, you can make a direct donation by clicking here.

Donations are tax-deductible (state tax laws vary), and nearly 100% of your donation goes directly to research funding through IU Simon Cancer Center – there is no “middle man”.

Please consider donating to support the research of a fantastic doctor and his support staff. Their work has a great chance to improve the quality of life and chance for survival for other patients with pancreatic cancer!

With your help, we can make sure NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!



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