NEWS

March 31, 2017

History of the Griffith Family Foundation

Cathy and Greg Griffith

The history of the Griffith Family Foundation is a tragic but inspiring chapter in the story of Greg and Cathy Griffith.

Greg passed at age 50 after a heroic 19-month battle. When he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic and liver cancer in the prime of his life, he was told that time was limited. However, on hearing his diagnosis, he said to his doctor “What can Cathy and I do to help you?”

The doctors were amazed to hear this question from a terminally ill patient. From there, a new trajectory for pancreatic cancer had begun with those words spoken by Greg Griffith.

Cathy Griffith is Greg’s wife and the mother of two their amazing sons. She became a widow at the age of 48. It was through God’s love and grace that Cathy was able to remain calm and steadfast in the midst of a ferocious tornado called pancreatic cancer.

It was the idea of siblings, Amanda and Luke Ottaway. At the time, Amanda was a senior at Davidson College and a member of the girl’s basketball team.

Luke was a junior at Villanova University and a close friend of Jamie Griffith, Cathy and Greg’s son.

On Easter Weekend 2010, Amanda and Luke came to Greg and Cathy’s home and presented the idea of having a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer research.

Amanda Ottaway and Cathy

Their Spirit-driven concern led to the idea taking on a life of its own, and a committee was formed and lead by Booker Moore and Brent Ottaway to spearhead the first “Griff’s Run and Gun for a Cure.”

That first year, $30,000 was raised for pancreatic cancer research through the efforts of many in the local community. The success of the event soon led to the founding of the Greg and Cathy Griffith Family Foundation.

The foundation operates on the premise that helping others mends the brokenhearted.

It is Cathy’s desire to use the foundation to help change our world and the outcome of pancreatic cancer by uniting us all in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer through fundraising to support the research of Dr. A. James Moser.

Dr. Moser is the Co-Director of the Hepatobiliary Pancreatic Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA.

Since 2010, the Griffith Family Foundation has donated $230,000 to the research efforts of Dr. A. James Moser.

Dr. A. James Moser

In photo L-R: Dr. Niven Narain, Cathy, and Dr. Moser

One of more encouraging developments of Dr. Moser’s research and partnerships is with Berg, a biopharmaceutical company committed to uncovering health solutions through data-driven biological research.

This particular partnership has lead to an initiative called “Project Survival.”

According to Niven R. Narain, Co-Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer of Berg, this partnership will help significantly in the efforts to detect Pancreatic Cancer earlier so that new treatments can be developed, which will lead to longer survival.

Cathy Griffith is President of the Greg & Cathy Griffith Family Foundation, member and advocate for American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Association Cancer Researcher (AACR), and a Research Advocate Network Scholar (RAN).

Cathy attended the American Association of Cancer Researchers in Atlanta, GA in December 2013.

She also obtained her certification as an AACR Pancreatic Advocate Scholar.

Cathy was the American Society Clinical Oncology Pancreatic Research Advocate Network Scholar in Chicago in June 2014.

In photo L-R: Dr.Ralph McKibbin President DDNC, Dr.Costas Kefalas Past President DDNC, Cathy, and Dr. James DeGerome past President DDNC 

Dr. Anirban Maitra

In addition, Cathy attended the NIH Pancreatic Cancer conference on September 10th, 2014. She met with Dr. Anirban Maitra of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas.

Dr. Maitra is an expert in genetics of pancreatic cancer and the development of targeted therapies for the disease.

Cathy also had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Perwez Hussain. Dr. Hussain, Head of Pancreatic Cancer Unit at National Cancer Institute, which performs research focused on identifying therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancer.

Since the inception of the GFF, Cathy has remained active in the community raising awareness for Pancreatic Cancer and in the Griffith Family Foundation Sideline Cancer® campaign.

She has spoken to the Hollidaysburg Rotary, Caring for Kids With Cancer, the American Cancer Society, Kiwanis, St. Vincent DePaul dinner, the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund, and she continues to speak at many local churches, schools, and universities.

Cathy speaking at St. Francis University

Cathy also is an active member of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition and continues to participate in World Pancreatic Cancer Day with Dr. A. James Moser and Staff at Harvard Medical School at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Additionally, Cathy is the Vice-Chair the Digestive Disease National Coalition and is currently involved with the DDNC and the National Pancreas Foundation to create an advocacy platform for Pancreatic Cancer awareness in Washington D.C.

The Griffith Family Foundation has many fundraising and awareness campaigns throughout the year, such as: hosting the Annual Griff’s Sideline Pancreatic Cancer Dinner; sponsoring the Sideline Cancer basketball team in “The Basketball Tournament” (an eleven-member made up of professional basketball players who come together to play in a highly visible, nationwide, single elimination tournament); organizing our annual “Tee Off For a Cure” golf tournament at the Scotch Valley Country Club; and raising awareness with The Good Funeral Home and Alto-Reste Park at “Fund a Cure a Night at the Altoona Curve to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer.” In addition, Sideline Cancer® is another major campaign which has become our signature fundraising initiative!

Annual Sideline Pancreatic Cancer Dinner

Sideline Cancer® “The Basketball Tournament “Team

Tee Off for a Cure

Fund a Cure Night

The concept of Sideline Cancer® started with a group of seniors at the Hollidaysburg High School in 2012.

At the Penn State Altoona Pancreatic Symposium in 2012, the Griffith Family Foundation was introduced to Jack Andraka, who is the 2012 Intel Science and Engineering Fair Winner, Amateur Cancer Researcher, Education Activist, Medical Entrepreneur, Innovator, current student at Stanford University, and our Griffith Family Foundation Sideline Cancer® Ambassador.

He suggested a name that would reflect all school activities and participation. Sideline Cancer® was then birthed due to his suggestion and a collaborative effort from the Griffith Family Foundation, Jack, and students.

Jack Andraka

The name Sideline Cancer® has been trademarked through the Griffith Family Foundation. Sideline Cancer® events can be hosted by any school, university, or place of business, with a 50-50 revenue share with the Griffith Family Foundation. Information on how to host an event, go to sidelinecancer.com.

In 2016, St. Francis University became our first official Sideline Cancer® Club chapter.

Also in 2016, Hannah Gildea, Sierra Cobler, and Joel Redfoot, three GFF Sideline Cancer® Interns, organized a special event held in Pittsburgh, PA to help raise awareness. This event brought together Sideline Cancer® with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, and Community Affairs Liaison, Ernest Rajakone!

In photo L-R: Community Affairs Liaison Ernest Rajakone, Hannah Gildea, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, Cathy Griffith, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Sierra Cobler, and Joel Redfoot.

In photo L-R: Tami Haslett of The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Natalia Rudiak, Sierra Cobler, Cathy Griffith, Joel Redfoot, Hannah Gildea, Mayor Bill Peduto, Marla Wagner and Theresa Dukovich (The Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer Board Members and Woiner Foundation Volunteers), Dr. Shyam Thakkar (Director of the Multidisciplinary Pancreas Center at Allegheny Health Network and Medical Director of the National Pancreas Foundation), and Ernest Rajakone. Not Pictured: Dr. Herb Zeh and Dr. Nathan Bahary of UPMC and Patter Birsic of The National Pancreas Foundation.

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