October 1, 2011

“Events to Aid Cancer Patient” – Altoona Mirror Article

The following article was published in the Altoona Mirror on July 31, 2011:

A benefit dinner and 3-on-3 basketball tournament will be held to raise money for the battle against pancreatic cancer in honor of Hollidaysburg’s Greg Griffith. The dinner will be held Aug. 13 at The Casino at Lakemont Park, and the 3-on-3 tournament will take place at 9 a.m. Aug. 14 at the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA. The weekend activities are being called “Griff’s Run & Gun For a Cure.”

Brent Ottaway, one of the weekend organizers, said the goals of the fundraisers include increasing awareness of pancreatic cancer, raising funds for the pancreatic cancer research of Dr. A. James Moser of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and providing moral support for the Griffith family and others in the region trying to cope with pancreatic cancer.
Griffith was diagnosed in February and has been receiving chemotherapy since.

“The idea was born within a couple of days of Greg’s diagnosis when some of his friends came to realize how devastating — and how relatively unknown — this cancer is,” Ottaway said. “It’s the most lethal of the major cancers, yet it gets only a small portion of the research dollars. We’re hoping that alerting to the public to the warning signs of pancreatic cancer will help others to get diagnosed before it spreads. Those signs can include back pain or abdominal pain, jaundice, weight loss, nausea and diabetes.” Griffith and his wife, Cathy, have been community leaders in Hollidaysburg for many years. The couple have two sons, Jordan and Jamie.

“Holding a basketball tournament was a natural, given how much the Griffiths have been a part of the local basketball scene for more than 30 years,” Ottaway said, adding Griffith is progressing well and still plays basketball regularly.

Tickets for the benefit dinner cost $25 and are currently available at the YMCA, Diamond Bridal Collections, art4 gallery and Dental Care Associates. The evening will include a presentation by Moser, who is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on pancreatic cancer. A silent auction of sports memorabilia and various entertainment packages also will be held.

The basketball tournament will feature various divisions and “which will be a mix of competitive and recreational players of both genders,” Ottaway said. All teams are guaranteed at least three games (which have a 10-minute time limit), with some moving on to a single-elimination playoff. The entry fee is $40. “This is a scary time for the Griffiths, but they have made it a time of joy as well, as their strong faith has helped them to find a surprising amount of silver that lines this dark cloud,” Ottaway said. “As a result, we see the Run & Gun weekend as, more than anything, a time of celebration — of life, family, community and, oh, basketball.”