PurpleStride draws thousands of supporters; Raises over $300,000


PARSIPPANY — Thousands of supporters joined together at the Mack-Cali Campus on Sunday, November 13 for a day filled with hope and inspiration to raise funds, awareness and support for pancreatic cancer. Ken Rosato, anchor of Channel 7 Eyewitness News in the Morning, emceed the event along with special guest Soprano’s star Dan Grimaldi.

Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Vice President Robert Peluso joined Ken Rosato and Dan Grimaldi in support of pancreatic cancer.  Peluso, had the opportunity of congratulating the runners as they crossed the finish line.

The event Co-Chairs were Dr. Lawrence Harrison, chief of surgical oncology at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center for Atlantic Health, Dr. Rosario Ligresti, Chief of the division of gastroenterology at Hackensack University Medical Center, and Dr. Darren Carpizo, leader of the Hepatobiliary Oncology program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

Speakers included two-and-a-half year Pancreatic survivor Lisa Eidelberg, along with her team “Team Lisa.” She considered herself “lucky” that she is now over 2 years out from diagnosis.  Most are not so lucky.  She walked so the future of pancreatic cancer is not so grim, and many more will survive this horrible disease which takes almost 70% of those diagnosed in the first year. Recently Montville Township Mayor James Sandham presented Lisa Eidelberg, with a plaque stating that the Montville Township Committee designated November 17 as World Pancreatic Cancer Day in Montville Township.

Eidelberg stated, “The current five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only 8 percent. Pancreatic cancer is projected to be the second deadliest cancer by 2020. Once the symptoms present themselves, it is usually too late. Seventy-one percent die within the first year.”

Zach Cohen, the second highest team to raise funds, was participating because he lost his amazing grandfather Pop Pop Bill Rabb to Pancreatic Cancer when he was only nine. As my Bar Mitzvah approaches he decided he wanted to raise money to help the fight against this terrible disease in memory of my Pop Pop. His Pop Pop cheered him on at every basketball and soccer game. He still misses him every day. Zach’s family, grandma and cousins are walked in Purple Stride Pancreatic Cancer event. Zach’s team “Pop Pop Bill Crew” earned $8,581.00.

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Eric Doppelt, 16, formed “Team Jane.”  He stated three years ago, his Aunt Jane was diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer.

The diagnosis shook more than just Jane: the news of a tumor quickly spread from one person to another – friends and family alike were plagued by this awful discovery. It was devastating to hear that someone so innocent, and so compassionate, was given such an awful sentencing. How could we come to grips with that?

After the initial shock subsided, they quickly concluded that while they may not have been able to understand why it happened, they certainly didn’t have to accept it as a simple death sentence. They could fight back. So while Jane battled, they did too.

Jane’s tumor was discovered in the Summer of 2013. For the following year, she battled relentlessly. Jane underwent chemotherapy and radiation, and despite awful side effects, her smile never faded. Cancer could never steal her smile.

Jane underwent surgery to remove the tumor, and with chemotherapy treatments, she lived cancer-free.

The dark, grim future faded, and life was simpler. But then, in the Winter of 2015, multiple tumors appeared. Her cancer had spread. Jane battled these tumors with a similar vigor – she failed to relent. But these tumors were different. They couldn’t be beat.

Jane passed away on September 24, 2016. Team Jane raised $19,039.00 during PurpleStride Parsippany. Team Jane has participated in other walks PurpleStride New York, PurpleStride Chicago, PurpleStride Delaware as well as PurpleStride New Jersey.

For more information on Team Jane, click here.

Emcee Ken Rosato is anchor of Channel 7’s top-rated Eyewitness News This Morning. Ken joined the Eyewitness News Team as a freelance reporter in 2003. He came to WABC-TV from New York’s WNYW-TV, where he was a reporter and anchored the morning and midday news. Before that he worked as a news anchor and reporter at WFOR-TV in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, where he covered the 2000 Presidential election vote-count stalemate and the year-long Elian Gonzales standoff. While there, he was nominated for a Suncoast Emmy Award.

Special Guest Dan Grimaldi, from the Sopranos, portrayed identical twin mobsters, Patsy and Philly Parisi, on the critically acclaimed HBO series. He was nominated and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a
Drama Series in 2008 and received a nomination in 2007.

Honoree Co-Chairs were Lawrence E. Harrison is Chief of Surgical Oncology at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center for the Atlantic Health System. He earned a B.A. degree in Chemistry at Franklin & Marshall College and his M.D. degree at Temple University Medical School. He completed his general surgical training at University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Over the next four years, Dr. Harrison went on to complete both Research and Clinical Fellowships in Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Subsequently, he was Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at New Jersey Medical School in Newark and then Director of Surgical Oncology at Valley Hospital.

Also Rosario Ligresti, MD, FASGE is the Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at HackensackUMC. He is the Site Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship of Rutgers/ UMDNJ. He is also the Director of the Pancreas Center at HackensackUMC, and Medical Director of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Pancreas Foundation. Earlier this year he was named as a Fellow of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Prior to coming to HackensackUMC in 2005, he was the Director of Endoscopy and Co-Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship at Westchester Medical Center. He continues to hold an academic appointment at New York Medical College.

The third Honoree Co-Chair was Darren Carpizo completed his MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1997 before moving to the University of California at Los Angeles where, during a nine-year period, he completed an internship and residency in surgery as well as a PhD in molecular, cell and developmental biology (2003). He completed his PhD in the STAR program (Specialty Training in Advanced Research) which is a unique program to train physician scientists under the mentorship of Dr. Luisa Iruela-Arispe studying tumor angiogenesis. He later went on to complete a surgical oncology fellowship at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer center where he specialized in the management of patients with pancreatic, liver and bile duct cancers. There he published one of the first papers published on the surgical management of patients with hepatic and extrahepatic colorectal cancer metastases.

Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells in the pancreas grow out of control and form a tumor. The symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer are often vague, similar to symptoms caused by other conditions and may not be present in early stages of the disease.

There will be an estimated 418,451 new cases diagnosed world-wide in 2020.

To learn more about PurpleStride, click here.

The Morris County Freeholders have proclaimed November 17 as World Pancreatic Cancer Day in Morris County, to help call attention to this hard-to-diagnose, quick moving and very deadly disease that will take more than 1,300 lives in New Jersey this year.

Freeholders Deborah Smith and Doug Cabana, Sandi Field of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and Freeholders Kathy DeFillippo, Hank Lyon and John Cesaro
Freeholders Deborah Smith and Doug Cabana, Sandi Field of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and Freeholders Kathy DeFillippo, Hank Lyon and John Cesaro