October Evening with the Stars Weekend Brings Even More Strength and Unity to Researcher “Community for Progress”

Home About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Pancreas Matters email newsletter archive October Evening with the Stars Weekend Brings Even More Strength and Unity to Researcher “Community for Progress”

Researchers get into the PurpleStride spirit, raising their “Know It,” “Fight It,” and “End It” ribbons.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network takes special pride in awarding research grants to both promising and accomplished scientists and clinicians throughout the country. In fact, the organization plans on awarding a record total of more than $5.1 million of grants in 2014.

In addition to providing financial support for vital research, the organization is building a Community for Progress. Within this community, grant recipients receive professional advancement opportunities, including mentorship, networking, and—new this year—communication training. All of these important elements came into play in the whirlwind “An Evening with the Stars” weekend, October 18 – 19, in Beverly Hills, California.

Mikala Egeblad, PhD (right), recipient of a grant funded by the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation, explains her work to Janet Mordecai.

Early Friday morning, the grantees were joined by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Boards, as well as members of the Board of Directors, and treated to an opening ceremony like those that take place at PurpleStride events – complete with balloons, ribbons, and music.

Throughout the day, research grant recipients had the opportunity to present data from their Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-funded projects. Advisors and fellow grantees engaged in lively discussion after each presentation, providing advice, support, suggestions, and offers of collaboration.

Brief research presentations were a highlight of An Evening with Our Scientists, a dinner on Friday night.

A highlight of Friday’s events was a first-time face-to-face meeting between five research grant recipients and their generous benefactor, Janet Mordecai. In 2012, the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation gave the largest single donation in our organization’s history—$1.4 million to support five early-career grants. Meeting Ms. Mordecai was an honor for researchers who benefitted from her generous giving.

The learning and networking continued Friday evening, when Board members, other scientists, and special guests viewed posters about the research projects funded by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and spoke informally with the scientists about their work at a reception. A dinner followed, during which a panel of accomplished grant recipients briefly presented their research in four priority areas of pancreatic cancer research that could bring closer the goal of doubling survival by 2020.

Forty grant recipients crowded onto the stage at the An Evening with the Stars gala.

On Saturday, a communications expert spoke to the research grant recipients and Boards about communicating clearly and simply about their science to make sure they can effectively share what’s being accomplished with a variety of lay audiences, including donors and the media.

The weekend’s events culminated with a sparkling gala event — An Evening with the Stars. Grant recipients were introduced and called forward, each one taking a path to the stage through a standing-room-only ballroom of cheering guests. It was an exciting and emotional evening that inspired the attendees and raised more than $750,000 to support future efforts.

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