Sunday marks the Lustgarten Foundation’s second annual New York City Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk and Long Islanders are lining up to participate.
The walk holds special meaning for its participants, including foundation Executive Director Kerri Kaplan.
“My closest friend’s father died of pancreatic cancer,” said Kaplan, a Melville resident. “And through my position, I’ve met so many people who were fighting it or lost loved ones to the disease.”
Sunday’s walk is just one of 35 sponsored by The Lustgarten Foundation that takes place all over the country throughout the year. The Long Island Walk – for those who can’t make the New York City event – takes place Oct. 14 at Jones Beach. Inspired by Marc Lustgarten, who served as Cablevision’s vice chairman and died of pancreatic cancer in 1999, the organization was founded in 1998.
Charles Dolan chairs the foundation’s board of directors, of which James Dolan is a member.
The Bethpage-based nonprofit's sole mission is to fund pancreatic cancer research. Because of Cablevision’s support, 100 percent of the money donated goes to pancreatic cancer research.
"Research is our best weapon in this fight" to cure pancreatic cancer, Kaplan added.
The walk, Kaplan said, unites multi-generations of families who are honoring loved ones they lost or people battling the disease.
“It’s a very special, moving day,” she said. “It’s great for awareness. We get wonderful feedback from all of the participants.”
"While they walk, people meet each other and share stories," she added. "For a lot of people, it's very meaningful for them."
Last year the Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk/Run in New York City drew nearly 2,000 people. This year, Kaplan anticipates the same number of participants, and expects to raise between $300,000 to $400,000. Meanwhile, in 2011, the Long Island walk drew a record-breaking 6,000 participants, raising nearly $1 million.
To date, the research has helped with research on early detection, better therapies, hereditary factor and more.
Kaplan said the New York City walk will feature activities for children, food, and music. It starts at Clinton Cove at Hudson River Park (55th Street and the Hudson River).
Learn more about the walk and the Lustgarten Foundation at www.curePC.org.