Held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Share this Article:
(Milwaukee WI) August 18-20, 2023 – The Seena Magowitz Foundation’s Annual “Power of Us” is a series of events that harnesses the collective power among pancreatic cancer patients, caregivers, medical researchers, surgeons, oncologists, advocates, donors, and sponsors. The annual “Power of Us” is generally comprised of three main multiple events over a period of three days each year.
The common goal is enhancing patient outcomes. To inspire patients with renewed hope. A more rapid pace of innovative treatments will save and extend quality of patient lives until the ultimate goal is achieved… “The eradication of pancreatic cancer.” It is the worst of all tumor-type cancers with the lowest relative 5-year survival of 12% across all stages. It accounts for one-third of all cancer related deaths.
Kay Kays "Survivor Spirit Award"
Stan Vitikas "Philanthropic Award"
The Pollack Family "Legacy Award"
SUMMARY OF EVENTS
Meet & Greet The Harley Davidson Motorcycle Museum:
August 18, 2023
Sponsored by Customatic Technologies. Over 150 attendees treated to great food and entertainment by Ira Dean, country singer and songwriter. Ira was well-known as a member of “Trick Pony” which won CMA Artists of the year in 2001. Ron Brefka, pancreatic cancer patient and motorcycle enthusiast was honored. Ron died in a motorcycle race in Sturgis, SD.
Breakfast Meeting Among Patients, Caregivers, Nurse Practitioners and Doctors: August 19, 2023
Sponsored by Karl and Cathi Glassman. A brilliant idea of bringing over 80 pancreatic cancer patients and their caregivers together with elite pancreatic cancer medical professionals. The open forum discussed new innovative treatments, upcoming clinical trials, and Q&A sessions. Breakfast breakout groups where a medical expert was seated with patient groups renewing hope and inspiration.
Keynote. Douglas B. Evans MD, FACS. Chair of Department of Surgery. Medical College of Wisconsin
Presiding. Daniel Von Hoff MD, FACP, FASCO, FAACR. Distinguished Professor of TGEN for Innovative Research.
Consortium Leader. Erkut Borazanci MD, MS. Deputy Director of Oncology at HonorHealth Research Institute.
Consortium Leader. Susan Tsai MD, MHS, FACS. Director of LaBahn Pancreatic Cancer Program. Medical College of Wisconsin.
Consortium Leader, Jen Jen Yeh, MD Professor in the Department of Surgery and Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina
Consortium Leader. Colin Weekes, MD, PhD. Director, Oncology Research for Pancreatic Cancer Center Ground Rounds Program.
GRAND FINALE: Dinner On The Diamond. Saturday Evening:
August 19, 2023.
Sponsored By Leggett & Platt. Over 320 attendees gathered on the diamond at American Family Field, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Among the attendees were patients, caregivers, advocates, donors, sponsors, and renowned medical professionals including research oncologists, elite surgeons, and clinical trial investigators. Bud Selig and Bob Uecker attended the Dinner on the Diamond. Custom Open Bar Sponsors Tom and Juli LaPorte
Our sincere thanks to Roger Caplinger, the Honorary Chair of the 2023 Power Of Us series of events held in Milwaukee. Roger is the Former Medical Director of the Milwaukee Brewers and is currently a pancreatic cancer patient.
Special awards were given to the following attendees:
Family Legacy Award: The Pollack Family
The Pollack Family lost their patriarch, Ken Pollack to pancreatic cancer in December 2022. The family owns Babbo Italian Eatery which has eight restaurants in the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale area. In memory of Ken and in honor of his love of baseball, the family continued his “Day of Giving” but renamed it to “Baseball For Babbo.”
This year they raised over $150,000 by donating one day’s receipts and sales of autographed baseball memorabilia. To date they have raised more than $250,000 towards pancreatic cancer research. JP of Memory Lane and Derrick Hall, President of the Arizona Diamondbacks helped by donating some memorabilia. Roger E. Magowitz also helped by matching portions of Babbo restaurant receipts.
Survivor’s Spirit Award: Kay Kays
It gives the Foundation great pleasure to honor Kay with this award. Kay is a 29-year pancreatic cancer survivor. She is a spouse, mother, grandmother, family member, and friend. Kay Kays is dedicated to her responsibility as a research grant reviewer and research patient consultant. Recently, Kay was selected to serve as a patient advocate for the NCI Pancreas Task Force representing the Seena Magowitz Foundation.
Although a long-term survivor, her road has not been easy. Diagnosed in 1994 and despite having the Whipple Procedure she had her pancreas and spleen completely removed. Three years later, doctors discovered her cancer had metastasized to her lymph nodes. Her doctors actually told her there was nothing more they could do for her.
Undeterred, Kay found an article written by Dr. Daniel Von Hoff. She reached out to him, becoming one of his first targeted therapy patients. Three years later the cancer spread to her lung resulting in part of her lung being removed. In spite of the rough road, today she is healthy without any sign of active cancer. She continues to counsel other patients and is a Co-Moderator of the Foundation’s Patient Support Group.
Philanthropic Impact Honoree: Stan Vitikas
Stan is a 15-year pancreatic cancer survivor who poses the same question every year. “If not me, then who?” As a survivor, Stan Vitikas has become an advocate and a grassroots fundraiser by asking more than 100 people from his community, work partners, and family members to help fund pancreatic cancer research.
Stan himself has matched raised funds and even volunteered time at his employers in return for contributions. In the last year Stan has raised over $115,000 and in the last eight years since his grassroot style, he has raised over $500,000 to help fund pancreatic research and is setting even high aspirations.
All net proceeds derived from the Power of Us Annual Event are targeted for a clinical trial administered by the Medical College of Wisconsin.