The Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC) is a group of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network volunteers who provide feedback and advice to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network with regard to the Community Engagement program, volunteer affiliate network and other initiatives of the organization.
Angeli Bateman never forgot when she read about Randy Pausch’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2007. It was the first time she had ever heard of the disease and his story has remained with her.
Fast forward to January 2014 when her own father, a proud U.S. Army Veteran, was diagnosed at 67 with this same disease. After undergoing the grueling Whipple procedure and chemotherapy, he passed away a short nine months later. After his death, Bateman attended her first PurpleStride Dallas/Ft Worth with her family by her side. Just two months later, Team Bumpy was formed for PurpleStride, lovingly named after what the grandkids called her dad.. Today, she and her oldest daughter lead their PurpleStride team as Grand Club members. There, with thousands of others who had walked this journey, she knew that she needed to get more involved. While she has volunteered for various other organizations and activities, she has never come across a more dedicated and passionate group than the volunteers of the DFW Affiliate. It is through them that she finds her inspiration and drive to continue the fight that took her dad. Bateman has served as social media administrator, November Awareness Chair, attended Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. and sat in many local PanCAN Advocacy congressional district meetings.
Bateman is currently serving as Communications Chair with the DFW Affiliate. Her role has allowed her to make long-lasting friendships in the pancreatic cancer community. It has given her the great opportunity to share the amazing stories of survivors, caregivers and advocates. She firmly believes that the power of our stories will be the key to change outcomes for this disease.
Bateman was born and raised in El Paso and has her Bachelor’s in Business Administration, with a concentration in Human Resources, from the University of Texas at El Paso. She worked in HR for many years in her beloved hometown until she moved to the DFW metroplex. She is a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls and wife to a loving husband. Her hobbies include working out, reading, traveling and watching her girls grow into strong advocates as well! As she guides them, she remembers one of her favorite quotes: “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” — Morgan Harper Nichols
Nathan Burger began volunteering with the Indianapolis Affiliate in 2014 after losing one of his best friends to pancreatic cancer at the young age of 27. His career transitioned him to Orlando in 2016, and he started attending meetings with the Central Florida Affiliate. Eventually, Burger took on their Affiliate Chair position in 2018.
Burger has a BA in Sport Administration from Ball State University. He has worked for the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the past 10 years. He currently oversees the Group Sales Department for the Orlando Magic, and his team has been ranked the #1 group sales team in the NBA for the past three seasons.
With his knowledge of the corporate world and strengths in relationship building, sales, fundraising and logistics, Burger vows to bring these attributes to the affiliate in order to continue growing awareness in the Central Florida region.
In addition to serving as the Affiliate Chair, he also mentors through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program of Central Florida, serves on the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando, participates in Tourism Orlando Leadership Program, and mentors for the Ball State Sport Administration Alumni Connections Program. Outside of work and volunteering, he enjoys playing golf and travelling.
Frank De Seno
Frank De Seno has served as the Media Chair for the Chicago Affiliate for the last four years. During his tenure, he has acquired at least two Gold Media Sponsors for PurpleStride every year, including several radio and television interviews. He was also able to obtain numerous interviews and media coverage for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and World Pancreatic Cancer Day in November.
In 2008, De Seno lost his older brother to pancreatic cancer just 30 days after being diagnosed at the age of 62. Three years later in 2011, Frank lost his wife to the disease, four months after being diagnosed. She was only 52 years old.
Since that time, De Seno has lost three close friends and other acquaintances to pancreatic cancer. He has made it his mission to help fight and find a cure for the world’s toughest cancer.
De Seno became a volunteer with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in July 2011, after meeting the founder Pam Acosta Marquardt.
He has been an active volunteer ever since, serving in the roles of advocate, PurpleLight Chair and Media Chair. He has attended Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., for the last seven years. Plus, De Seno serves as a volunteer mentor for other cancer-related organizations.
He is now retired after a 40-year career at Grainger, where he held numerous roles including Buyer, Trade Show Setup Manager, Project Manager, NASCAR/Grainger Media Manager and many others. In addition to his normal duties, De Seno was also Employee Event Coordinator, where he planned monthly employee events and annual company picnics with attendances over 4,000 people. He holds a degree in Business Management from DePaul University.
De Seno spends his personal time walking, bike riding, gardening, event planning with his small business, cooking dishes from scratch, and planning for his wedding in August 2019.
He was born and raised in the Little Italy neighborhood of Chicago where he learned strong family and life values. De Seno now lives in Round Lake, Illinois, a far northwestern suburb of Chicago with his wife-to-be, their dog Bailee and bird Austin. He is a big Chicago sports fan, cheering for the Blackhawks, Bears and White Sox.
If Helen Dillen looks familiar, it may be because she’s moved around the country a few times, and every time has found a PanCAN family in her new city! Her relationship with PanCAN began in her home state of Texas in 2010, two years after losing her grandmother to pancreatic cancer. She remembers being devastated with the diagnosis but that connection has led her to meet so many amazing fellow volunteers.
Dillen first started volunteering with PanCAN’s Dallas/Ft Worth Affiliate and about a year later, moved to Austin, where she quickly found her purple family. She spent five years there, building relationships with teams and fundraisers, before she and her husband moved to Portland, Oregon in 2016. She started there as Volunteer Chair but transitioned to Affiliate Chair in 2018 and under her leadership, the Affiliate has grown significantly.
Dillen’s own family is growing as well, as she welcomed baby Dale in the summer of 2021. She and her husband love to take him exploring all that Oregon has to offer – crabbing, fishing, hiking, camping and taking in the beautiful scenery. In addition to her PanCAN work, Dillen also sits on the board of directors for a local non-profit that is focused on engaging youth in civic activities to better themselves and their communities.
And while her grandmother remains Dillen’s original “why,” she says she has gained so many more reasons to continue her volunteer work and continue to fight for survivors and friends who’ve lost loved ones.
Annette Fetty-Santilli called the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) on Oct. 9, 2007. It was the day after her 38-year-old brother’s funeral.
Her younger brother, Jim, had passed away from pancreatic cancer. She made a promise to him on his last day on earth that she would do everything she could to help end this disease, because no one else should have to suffer like he did. Fetty-Santilli began volunteering immediately.
Fetty-Santilli’s calling to help end pancreatic cancer also influenced her career path. She is currently a project manager for a research program with West Virginia University’s School of Public Health. She also serves on the Steering Council of West Virginia’s Mountains of Hope Cancer Coalition.
Fetty-Santilli served a two-year term in the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network as State Lead Ambassador. Motivated by her own skin cancer diagnosis, she was instrumental in helping pass legislation in West Virginia, prohibiting tanning bed use by anyone under the age of 18 in the state. She also viewed this as an opportunity to raise the profile of pancreatic cancer all around West Virginia.
Her “purple passion” has rubbed off on her entire family. Both her husband, Sam, and her daughter, Stephanie, volunteer for PanCAN. Stephanie has accompanied her mom on several occasions to National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.
Fetty-Santilli has summed up her advocacy efforts in one word – “relationships.” She has appreciated building personal relationships with her federal legislators and their staffs. Every legislator and their staff members know that it was her brother who passed away from pancreatic cancer and the importance of this cause. West Virginia legislators annually participate in World Pancreatic Cancer Day awareness.
In 2015, Fetty-Santilli received PanCAN’s Community Advocate of the Year Award. In November 2017, she led West Virginia to have the most champions engaged during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. And in May 2018, Fetty-Santilli had the opportunity to host CEO Julie Fleshman in West Virginia.
Fetty-Santilli has a BS in business administration from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a MA in education administration from West Virginia University. She enjoys shopping, designing counted cross-stitch patterns, and watching baseball and football games and WVU women’s basketball games with her husband and daughter.
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” (Helen Keller)
Janice Griffin’s personal journey with pancreatic cancer began in June 2009 when she lost her mom, Connie Drudik, to the disease after only 9 months.
In 2012, Griffin literally stumbled upon a Boston PurpleStride event. It was truly an emotional and life-changing moment for her. From her first Boston Affiliate meeting to the present, Griffin has been able to channel her energy and passion in a positive way as a volunteer, educator, advocate and leader with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN).
She has served as a PanCAN general volunteer, PurpleStride KidZone Chair, Volunteer Chair (two years), and currently Affiliate Chair (three years).
In addition to affiliate activities, Griffin serves on committees for the annual Framingham Police 5k for Pancreatic Cancer and The Boston Purple Party. She also participates on a Special Commission to Study Pancreatic Cancer with the Commonwealth of Mass.
Griffin is committed to continuing the mission of changing the future of pancreatic cancer not by herself, but with the support of other committed individuals. “It is truly an honor to be a part of the Volunteer Advisory Council, and I look forward to this opportunity within the PanCAN community.”
Born and raised in rural Nebraska, Griffin has lived in New England for nearly 30 years with her husband, son and daughter. She currently lives in Arlington, Mass. The Griffin team, Butterfly4Mom, participates in Boston PurpleStride annually.
When not involved with PanCAN, Griffin loves to walk, cycle, practice yoga, garden, and travel with her family, including her children’s spouses. For the past 25 years, she has worked with students with special needs. Her mom’s love of serving others inspired the direction of Griffin’s life.
Kaz Iwamoto has sweet memories of his father – especially since together, they started Harry’s Berries, one of the best strawberry businesses in the world. Those strawberries are considered by many as the tastiest you’ll ever find.
That is just one legacy his father left when he died in 1993, four days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This began Iwamoto’s hatred for cancer and led him to the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life. His first Relay For Life was in 2000, and four years later, he served as the California Chair for Relay For Life and on the National Relay Advisory Team. This role took him to represent ACS in the Philippines, Japan and Australia.
He contacted PanCAN when his mother also died of pancreatic cancer, five months after diagnosis, in 2017. Iwamoto felt the need to focus on pancreatic cancer, and being a volunteer over-achiever, he volunteered at three PurpleStride events in 2018. The next year, he was in the spotlight, speaking at the PanCAN Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.. He also spoke at the annual Volunteer Leadership Summit and at PurpleStride San Diego.
Volunteering for PanCAN is an honor. He continues as Logistics Chair for PurpleStride Los Angeles.
Iwamoto’s career was cut short due to his own brain aneurysm, but the legacy of Harry’s Berries continues to thrive under his sister. As a proud U.S. Army veteran, it’s only appropriate that Iwamoto was married on the 4th of July and has been married to Yoshiko for 46 years. They have three sons and one granddaughter. He enjoys his daily 3-mile walk and working in the garden.
Tiffany Mekeel believes our lives are measured in moments, and defining moments are the ones that endure in our memories. Her defining moment came on July 14, 2017 when her beautiful, strong, and courageous mom was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. This moment upended the certainties in her life and reshaped them.
When her mom passed away September 28, 2018, she was determined to continue her mom’s battle and when the opportunity arose to serve as the Affiliate Chair for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Cleveland Affiliate, there was no question in her mind she was destined for this role.
Tiffany made a promise to her mom that she would not stop the fight against pancreatic cancer and she hasn’t. Her passion and dedication drives Tiffany to advocating and demanding better for those affected by pancreatic cancer. Tiffany is a proud and active member of the Cleveland Affiliate serving as both Social Media Chair and Affiliate Chair.
Tiffany has helped plan and execute PurpleLight, PurpleStride and other affiliate activities. She often volunteers with other PanCAN related activities and affiliations. Tiffany represented PanCAN at check presentations and has appeared on local television. Volunteering for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network gives her a huge sense of pride and empowerment. She knows her mom is smiling down on her and proud of the accomplishments she has made.
Tiffany is a wife of an extremely hardworking and supportive husband, Tim and a Jeep driving mom to two spirited, super adorable boys, Noah (age 11) and Hunter (age 8). She graduated from John Carroll University with a BA/BS in Accounting, and works full-time for local government in the Council Office. When she’s not working, Tiffany can be found spending time with her family, working out at Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) or exploring her city, the “CLE.”
Gloria J. Perry serves as Volunteer Recruitment Chair for the Washington D.C. Affiliate, which she joined in 2017. Her passion to serve stems from the loss of her mother, Barbara Hunter Powell, in May 2016, nearly six months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Perry’s service to PanCAN is a lifetime commitment. Her PanCAN volunteer journey began with volunteering for her first Washington, D.C. PurpleStride. She formed her team, Bobby’s Angels, to honor her mother and continues to lead the team today to raise funds and awareness. Shortly afterward, she began volunteering with the Affiliate, wherever the need existed including Outreach, November Awareness, Advocacy and PurpleStride.
Perry has a degree in Computer Science from Stillman College and an M.B.A. from Auburn University. She is a federal employee in Washington D.C., serving as a Program Manager. In her professional career, she has served in several positions communicating and collaborating with Congress, including serving in the office of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Perry leverages her understanding of the Congressional legislative and appropriations processes in her current role as the VA-01 representative for the PanCAN D.C. Advocacy Committee. In this role, Perry uses her experiences to advocate for federal funding for pancreatic cancer and Congressional support throughout the year, including PanCAN Advocacy Das and November Awareness. In addition to leveraging her professional experiences, Perry engages her local group memberships and networks to raise funds and community awareness of pancreatic cancer. During the COVID-19 shutdown, she continued to engage with the community virtually by collaborating with PanCAN to host a pancreatic cancer webinar attended by over 75 people within her community. Perry believes that sharing the facts, signs, and symptoms with just one person can create a domino effect within our communities, across our country and brings us one step closer to changing the course of history for pancreatic cancer.
Perry lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and enjoys serving in her church, hiking, making greeting cards, and most health and fitness activities.
Her dedication to improving the outcomes of pancreatic cancer patients is reflected in one of her favorite quotes from Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Jann B. Skelton, BPharm, MBA, FAPhA is President of Silver Pennies Consulting and has three decades of demonstrated success in business strategy, facilitation, communications, and complex program implementation in the health care industry. But in addition to an impressive career resume, Skelton has been a top Team Captain for PurpleStride New York City for nearly a decade. Along with her daughter Hannah and son William, they lead their team “David’s Daredevils,” in memory of her husband David, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2013, nine months after diagnosis. Skelton remembers that he faced every day with a positive attitude – the same positivity and determination she brings to her work with PanCAN.
Skelton’s diverse professional background includes working in pharmacy practice, health care consulting, pharmaceutical services, and professional advocacy organizations. She has authored numerous professional publications in the areas of immunizations, medication administration, continuous professional development, opioid use disorder, patient safety, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. She is a West Virginia University School of Pharmacy graduate and received her MBA from George Washington University. She was named a Fellow of the American Pharmacists Association in 2020. She also serves as an elected member of her local Board of Education.
For Skelton and her kids, PurpleStride New York City is a celebration every year now, and as time has gone on, they have been surprised that their friends and family are more engaged than ever. And it shows through their incredible fundraising – more than $235,000 for research and education to fight pancreatic cancer!
Wendy Stoneberg founded the Boise Affiliate alongside her life partner, John Bradley in 2010. John was a two-year pancreatic cancer survivor when he and Wendy met and over the course of their relationship, their shared passion for patient education and advocacy helped them recruit and retain a core team of volunteers, many of whom are still actively involved today.
Relying on her professional background in project management on various nuclear projects with the Idaho National Lab, Stoneberg initially stepped into the role of Advocacy Chair. She worked diligently on behalf of Idaho patients and survivors, meeting with senators and representatives in Washington, D.C and in Idaho to advocate for the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act. Receiving notice that both senators and one representative would co-sponsor the bill is one of her proudest moments with the organization.
John’s cancer returned in 2012 and in 2014, he lost his battle after 8 ½ years. With a renewed sense of purpose, Stoneberg filled John’s seat as Affiliate Chair, a position she held until 2020. During her tenure, she was instrumental in securing long-time media and advertising partners and cultivating deep relationships with local physicians. She’s also acted as Teams and Individual Development Chair for PurpleStride and remains a key volunteer and advisor for the organization while working full time as a Community Programs Manager for Optum Idaho.
Stoneberg loves spending her free time with her two children, their spouses, her grandchildren and her friends.
Matt Wilson has been a pancreatic cancer survivor since 2012. He joined the Delaware Affiliate on his one-year survivor anniversary to honor his family, friends and co-workers who supported him through all his tests, surgery and months of recovery.
Wilson hit the ground running by volunteering in a variety of roles with the affiliate’s first PurpleStride, the walk to end pancreatic cancer. In 2013, he was asked to be the State Leader at Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., and was then asked to step into the role of Advocacy Chair.
In 2014, Wilson was awarded the Randy Pausch award. The award recognizes a core role volunteer who has contributed outstanding service that goes above and beyond what is expected to advance the mission of PanCAN, who upholds volunteer core values, and who is an inspirational leader and a role model in the pancreatic cancer community. The award is also given to someone who embodies the late Dr. Pausch’s optimism, courage and enthusiasm for life.
In 2016, Wilson was invited to become the Delaware Affiliate Chair. He resides in Wilmington, Del., where he is an Assistant Professor and Department Chair at Wilmington University. Wilson will graduate with a Doctorate of Education and concentration in Higher Education Leadership in May 2018.