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Statistics Work Against Them, Patriots Help Out

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network holds an event at TD Bank Ballpark.

Baseball fans know that stats don’t lie, and on Sunday, fans at the Somerset Patriots game became aware of some important stats.

In 2010, 43,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Of those diagnosed, nearly 37,000 died.

Before the Patriots beat the Camden Riversharks, 9-1, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network was in the main concourse, raising money and awareness for pancreatic cancer.

Nicole Trella was at the event on Sunday, and is the co-coordinator of the New Jersey affiliate. She believes that events such as these are vital for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to reach their goals.

“The main reason why we are here today is to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer,” Trella said. “It’s the fourth leading cause of cancer death and the five-year survival rate is only six percent. The goal today is to spread the word about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and to make people aware of the disease so we can raise support.”

Draped in purple, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network had a beautiful day to raise awareness of the disease. Behind the third base dugout on the main concourse, a table was set up where the foundation was collecting donations and giving out information about pancreatic cancer.

Many volunteers were on hand to help the cause, including Michael Weinstein, who is the advocacy coordinator for the organization.  Weinstein is also a survivor of pancreatic cancer, so it is even more special for him to help out the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

“The Patriots games are a great venue for us to hold this event and raise awareness about pancreatic cancer,” he said. “It’s extremely important for me to be a part of this. I am now a five-and-a-half year survivor and the statistics show that there is not many survivors of this particular cancer. I can use my knowledge and energy to spread information and awareness about the disease. I feel as though I need to lead the charge for advocacy for our organization because of what I have been through.”

Another volunteer with close ties to the disease is Michael Sommer, a Basking Ridge resident. Sommer’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late 2010 and passed away in April 2011. 

Because his father was diagnosed with the disease, Sommer said he felt as though the event is a great way to spread information.

“The event as far as I’m concerned is just a wonderful day to bring people together in a beautiful place,” Sommer said. “Many people are affected by cancer and all of us know in one way or another the pain unfortunately involved with the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.”

Although Sommer feels that the event can help their cause, he acknowledges that funding for research is a major concern with pancreatic cancer.

“Funding for the disease and specifically early detection needs to come a long way,” Sommer said. “If we want to make any headway, there are changes that need to be made. Donations are of course important, but the real money that is needed is from the federal government. Without getting the word out to local representatives, we don’t have a shot to make a real impact.”

Locally, the Patriots are a great outlet that the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network have used in the past to have events such as this. Trella says that besides hosting these events, the Patriots have been very generous and helpful to them as they attempt to spread awareness nationwide of pancreatic cancer.

“The Patriots have been wonderful for us,” Trella said. “We held this event last year and we had a great turnout. They also sent the mascot [Sparkee] to our Purple Stride Walk in November. If they support it, other people will follow and support us also.”

For more information about pancreatic cancer, the organization and how to get involved visit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s website.

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