It is a big step for GRACE to grow from a community focused all but exclusively on lung cancer to a broader community of people affected by many different cancers. It took years to have GRACE transition from being a site fueled almost exclusively by one person to a resource with a group of specialists all participating together. It’s a richer experience for that, and now GRACE faces the challenge of overcoming the hurdle of reaching and integrating more patients and caregivers. Many people note that “there’s nothing out there like GRACE”, which I agree is true, but it would be unfortunate to have such a valuable source of current knowledge and vibrant support be limited to only or primarily lung cancer.
And one cancer that faces all too many difficulties is pancreatic cancer, which is understudied, has statistics that can be demoralizing, and overwhelms the tens of thousands of people affected by it. The opportunities for the latest information and a sense of community are limited, and this has led to the development of the GRACE Pancreatic Cancer section from the generous contributions in support of two special individuals.
Here are the comments from the Elkes Foundation, who provided very generous support:
The Elkes Foundation is pleased to help fund the Cancer GRACE pancreatic cancer site in honor of Ruth Elkes. She spent her life volunteering and helping others, including participating in clinical trials through her battle with pancreatic cancer. We would also like to remember the devotion and support given to her by her husband, Terrence Elkes, and hope that this site can serve as a resource for patients and their caregivers alike.
The second gift comes from the parents of Dr. Weiss, who provided the following message in memory of their good friend, Andrea Braunstein:
The new pancreatic section of GRACE has been funded in memorial to our recently departed friend, as well as beloved wife, mother and grandmother, Andrea Braunstein. Andrea spent the last three years of her life valiantly battling pancreatic cancer in the only way that she knew how–with dignity, determination, and perseverance. She empowered herself with as much information about this disease as was possible and thereby enabled herself to play an active role in her treatment. Andrea was born on October 3, 1948 in Brooklyn, NY and graduated from Brooklyn College with a BA in education. She and her husband, Kenny, brought up their children, Joshua and Heather in Rockland County, NY. Her granddaughters, Shayna and Aubrey lit up her life and despite her illness, provided her with the will to keep living. Until her very last days, she lead a fulfilling life, emotionally supporting her children, traveling with her grandchildren, maintaining an active social life and involving herself in others’ lives as much as possible. As a former educator, Andrea embodied everything that GRACE is about and would have been proud and honored to have her name associated with such a worthwhile project. Andrea’s passing leaves an enormous hole in our lives, but she will live forever in our hearts and memories. – Sheila and Bruce Weiss