Always Fighting for the Love of My Life

Edward J. Demyan; Pancreatic Cancer Victim; Supported and written by MaryKaye Mackulin, who loved him.
RIP my sweet man ... 1963 - 2011

Monday, March 26, 2012

Seeing Coach Ryan Speak Was Truly Inspiring

Coach Ryan spoke this past weekend at The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's Community Outreach Leadership Training event in Chicago Illinois, which I was PRIVILIGED to be a part of!  Her presence is so dynamic and her hope is infectious....   Here is something from her that I found on another site today and I thought it was worth sharing!  (Hey Virginia - Be Proud - Be Loud!)

Ryan, survivor and former UVa coach, to speak on pancreatic cancer

"Debbie Ryan doesn’t know how she beat pancreatic cancer. Not many do. But now that she has, she’s hoping she can shed light on an atypically deadly disease.

Thursday, the Patients & Friends Steering Committee of the University of Virginia Cancer Center will host a presentation on pancreatic cancer. The lead speaker will be Ryan, the legendary former UVa women’s basketball coach.  “It’s not about beating the odds,” Ryan said. “It’s more about the fact that I was just lucky. I don’t know why I’m still here, and most of my doctors don’t know why. It’s just that it kind of disappeared.”  In most cases, that’s not what happens.

Pancreatic cancer is among the most deadly cancers, killing 94 percent of all patients in the first five years, according to Meredith Gunter of the Patients & Friends Research Fund, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to raising money for cancer research at the University of Virginia. Patients & Friends is hosting the presentation.

“Patients & Friends is offering this program to help inform the community about this disease and about the hope we can find in the work done at UVa,” Gunter wrote in an email.
Pancreatic cancer claimed 38,000 deaths in 2011, according to a statement from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. It’s the only “top ten” most common cancer with a five-year survival rate in the single digits, and that statistic is nearly the same as it was 40 years ago, according to the statement.  One of the big problems with raising money for pancreatic cancer is the shortage of survivors to “carry the flag,” Ryan said in a phone interview from Chicago, where she was also giving a talk on the subject.

The longtime coach of the UVa women’s basketball team and soon-to-be member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame is an 11-year survivor of the disease.  “I think it’s becoming more and more understood, but it is a disease that we are way behind on,” Ryan said. “Many patients are treated with 1950s drugs. I was treated with 1950s drugs.”  Ryan said she really believes in the cause and strongly supports the work of UVa professors Kim Kelly and Dr. Todd Bauer, who she said are “doing an amazing job at trying to eradicate this horrible disease.” Kelly and Bauer will also speak Thursday.
Short of eradication, she hopes it might be the sort of disease science learns to manage.
Ryan said the disease is of rising importance, because it hits the heavier more often, though it can also kill the thin.  The number of cases is expected to increase by 55 percent in the next 20 years, according to Gunter.  “We put so much money into prostate and breast cancer that we’ve made both of them manageable diseases in some cases,” she said.  Among the casualties to pancreatic cancer, she said, are Steve Jobs of Apple, actor Patrick Swayze, singer Luciano Pavarotti and actress Donna Reed.

The presentation, New Frontiers in Treatment, Detection, and Prevention: Changing the Pancreatic Cancer Paradigm, will take place Thursday at Alumni Hall.  Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. The program will run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.  Kelly will be presenting on molecular imagining scans as a form of early detection. She is a recipient of a research grant from the PCAN. Bauer will speak about personalized therapies.  The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. Call 924-8432 or to RSVP.  UVa Imaging is underwriting the event."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment will be reviewed prior to publication; all comments that are non-offensive will be published as submitted.