REMEMBERING AN ESTEEMED COMMUNITY LEADER
quest (bi-kwest´) n.
The act of giving or leaving personal property by a will.
Something that is bequeathed; a legacy.
Many times, the most significant gift that someone makes to a cause is not given during their lifetime but rather through a bequest that supports
the organization’s mission for generations to come.
To receive information on how you can support the fight against pancreatic cancer by including the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in your
will or trust, please email
A SPORTS-LOVING FAMILY PRODUCES A WINNING
TEAM FOR THE CAUSE
The memory of a cherished mother
and a wife inspired a close-knit
family in Silver Spring, Maryland,
to fight pancreatic cancer with a
special resolve and determination.
The result was the creation of the
top fundraising teamat PurpleStride
Washington D.C 2012.
The Strudler family’s
teamwas formed to honor Melanie Darvin Strudler,
a devoted physical education teacher in the Montgomery
County School system who passed away in May 2012 at age
after a 19-month battle with the disease.
Following her mother’s diagnosis, Erica, a sales manager
with Groupon and the Strudler’s youngest daughter, found
the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network through an online
search. “A PALS associate got back to her right away after
she asked for information and she was impressed by that,”
said her father, Lewis, a Senior Director of Marketing with
Soon after, supporting the cause became a mission for
Erica, the fundraising team’s captain. “She got our family,
her friends, business associates and many others involved
and made sure that all of our efforts were successful,” Lewis
said. “Melanie was deeply touched by everything Erica did
for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and had planned
to participate in the event, but unfortunately she died one
month before it was held.”
Miracle for Melanie
team attracted 140 walkers
and raised more than $18,000 due primarily to Erica’s hard
work. The success of the team’s effort was just a starting
point for the family’s support of the cause.
After PurpleStride, the family established the Melanie
D. Strudler Legacy Fund which, including revenue from
the event, has raised almost $30,000. Erica and Lewis also
attended Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day this year, with
Erica enthusiastically advocating on Capitol Hill.
We think the world of the Pancreatic Cancer Action
Network and are glad to support their efforts any way we
can,” Lewis added. “We encourage everyone to engage in
advocacy so that the government devotes more resources to
studying this disease.”
Team Everyone Walks for Peter
the great PurpleStride success stories of
reflected the affection, respect and
admiration many felt for Peter A. Tomaras, a
partner with the Chicago law firm Wildman
Harrold who succumbed to pancreatic
cancer in December 2011 at age 59.
Peter touched the lives of countless
people through his profession, our church and community,”
said his wife ZoeAnn Tomaras, an elementary school music
teacher. “His diagnosis came as a shock to everyone he
knew. After his passing, his law firm formed a committee
to get people involved in supporting the Pancreatic Cancer
ZoeAnn was both elated and tearful about the team’s
success. “PurpleStride Chicago 2012 was held on a cold
and rainy morning in April, but 101 people still showed up to
walk and share their stories about Peter,” she said. “I cut the
ribbon to start the walk. We were overwhelmed that so many
who knew him participated.”
Peter's sister, Margo, is a Senior Director in the School
of Education at De Paul University. “She lost her mother,
who was just 63, and now her brother, both to pancreatic
cancer,” ZoeAnn said. "Not much has changed in the 23
years between their deaths. Now, Margo is determined
to help in any way she can, especially through advocacy.
Understandably, she is worried about other family members.”
The Tomaras family’s own support of the cause is
extraordinary. In addition to establishing Named Legacy
Funds in honor of Peter and Betty, they created a Keep the
Memory Alive page in Peter’s name. To date, more than
$10,000 in honor and memorial gifts have been made.
ZoeAnn added her family is proud to contribute to the
organization to further research and also show their own
gratitude for support they received during their journey
through the disease. “When our friend Harriet, a five-year
pancreatic cancer survivor, told us about the Pancreatic
Cancer Action Network, we found valuable information and
resources,” she said. “The stories on the website offered us
hope and encouragement.”
From left, the Strudler
family: Erica, Lewis,
Melanie and Allison