This year, The Griffith Family Foundation’s 9th Annual Sideline Pancreatic Cancer Dinner will be featuring a couple new special guest speakers.
Due to the date change, Dr. A. James Moser, Executive Co-Director of the Institute of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center will be not attending this year (this will be the first dinner he’s missed in 9 years!). However, he will be sharing an update on Project Survival via a video address during our program.
Kay Kays will be joining us this year. She is a 20+ year pancreatic cancer survivor, International Pancreatic Cancer Advocate. Having survived an initial diagnosis, locally advanced, and 2 metastases, her journey involved becoming patient active with her cancer at the Wellness Community in AZ, which initiated her research patient advocacy as a host of the 1st pancreatic cancer network in AZ. She saw the need for an educational bridge between patients and research and began seeking training and resources.
Serving as a patient advocate with the SPORE in GI Cancer at the AZ Cancer Center was a first step in beginning to participate locally and nationally as a GI patient research advocate.
Her participations have included SPORE Patient Advocate Research Team (PART), Alliance for Oncology Clinical Trials (formerly CALGB), Gateway for Cancer Research Scientific Counselors Patient Research Advocate, Research Advocacy Network/Tissue Think Tank, Wellness Community Board of Directors, Translational Genomics Research Institute/PCRT, Department of Defense-Pancreatic Cancer, National Institute of Health Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute, American Cancer Society, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Clinical trials and tissue donation are her main interests in helping cancer research move successfully forward for patients. She initiated and served as the Deputy Director with AZ-MN in a grassroots 1-year grant (Tissue Donor Awareness Project or TDAP) to educate patients about “What is tissue” and “Why tissue is important for cancer research.”
She is a faculty member of Methods in Clinical Research addressing public language in clinical research studies for patient understanding. Her dissemination of cancer research to patients is always a 2-Way street of learning and she is able to represent cancer patients at the grant review table with up to date information for accrual and quality of life from the real world of cancer.
And Doreen Perks, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be speaking at our dinner this year, too. She graduated from Penn State University in 1986 but didn’t move back to State College until 2000. During that time she worked in pharmaceutical and medical sales. Her last position was with Ethicon Endo-Surgery, a division of Johnson and Johnson.
After the death of her husband Bob, a local founder of Coaches vs. Cancer at Penn State, Doreen established The Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization. Their mission is to provide financial support for basic necessities to individuals and families dealing with cancer. In the 12 years since its inception, the Bob Perks Fund has allocated almost $2,000,000 to help families in our area struggling with the emotional and financial burden of a cancer diagnosis.
Her most important role currently is serving as mom to her two sons Garrett and Ryan, now 16 and 13 years old. In addition to her involvement with the Bob Perks Fund, she also volunteers one day a week at Mount Nittany Medical Center and serves on the board of Centred Basketball.
And we’re excited that Erin Willett has decided to join us yet again this year. She will be singing her collaborative song/Anthem of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer!
Erin was a semi-finalist on the second season of NBC’s The Voice and was personally affected by pancreatic cancer when her father, Chuck Willett, passed away from the disease in 2011. In 2012, Erin independently released her debut EP, which is available on iTunes.
In the memory and honor of Kiera Chirdon’s dedication to the Sideline Cancer campaign and her courageous battle with cancer, the Griffith Family Foundation is proud to present the inaugural Kiera Courage Award. Starting this year, this award will be given out annually to a student that exemplifies Kiera’s faith, hope, and love.
9th Annual Sideline Pancreatic Cancer Dinner
Time: Friday, August 17th, doors open at 5:30 PM (appetizers will be served), Dinner at 7:15 PM
Place: The Casino at Lakemont, 300 Lakemont Park Boulevard Altoona, PA 16602
Price: $30 per ticket
Tickets for this event can be purchased online or by contacting Cathy Griffith at
(Also contact Cathy if you have special dietary needs.)
To become a sponsor for this event, please submit this form:
To donate to our Silent Auction, please submit this form:
We would like to extend a very special “Thank you!” to everyone who signed up as a sponsor last year.
You play an incredibly important role in helping to make these events the great success that they are. We hope you will consider continuing to support this event and our work this year.
2017 Dinner Booklet
click on the image to open and download a copy