November 1, 2019

“I CAN Sideline Pancreatic Cancer” Youth Forum | Fri. Apr. 17, 2020

The Griffith Family Foundation “I CAN Sideline Pancreatic Cancer” Youth Forum: “‘We Are’ Fighting for Our Future” will take place Friday, April 17th at Nittany Lion Inn in State College, PA.

Event Details

Location: Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA 16803
Date: Friday, April 17th, 2020
Time: 8:30 am – 1:00 pm

nittany lion inn

Background for the 2020 Forum

Sideline Cancer at Penn State and The Griffith Family Foundation’s “I CAN Sideline Pancreatic Cancer” Youth Initiative are teaming up to take Pancreatic Cancer off the sideline and to the finishline. American Cancer Society Cancer report estimates that more than 56,700 Americans will be diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in 2019. That number itself is grim, but even more heartbreaking is that this means the number of new diagnoses is continuing to rise.

On Friday, April 17th, 2020, we will have the opportunity to hear from Penn State’s 2018 “Inventor of the Year” Dr. James Adair, and Dr. A. James Moser, co-director of both the Pancreas and Liver Institute and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and professor at Harvard Medical School.

Based on the efforts we’ve seen since our last forums, we are very hopeful and excited about the future of Pancreatic Cancer research. We are also encouraged by the recurring support from Dr. Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry, Penn State Altoona’s chancellor and dean, who played a vital role in helping us conduct our first symposium/forum and is also lending her time and energy for our fourth symposium/forum.

A special “Thank You” goes to the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence for hosting Jack Andraka in 2013 and giving area students the opportunity to collaborate and inspire one another to create our Griffith Family Foundation Youth Initiative I CAN Sideline Cancer!

Our first Pancreatic Cancer Symposium/Forum was on April 5th, 2013. At that symposium, Penn State Altoona and the Griffith Family Foundation hosted the 2012 Intel Science and Engineer Fair winner Jack Andraka. Jack, who was only 16 years old at the time, used that platform to encourage students to be active participants in transforming the outcome of Pancreatic Cancer.

Jack would later become an official Sideline Cancer Ambassador, and he and fellow future Ambassador, Kiera Chirdon, were the joint inspiration behind the creation of our Griffith Family Foundation “I CAN Sideline Pancreatic Cancer” Youth Initiative. This program was, and still is, the only youth initiative in the world that engages students to use their entrepreneurial and philanthropic ideas to raise awareness and be advocates for transformational change in conjunction with the global Pancreatic Cancer community.

Another important contributor to the effort to raise awareness has been Lisa Georgiana, SFU Center for Service & Learning Director. She was instrumental in taking the steps to create the first official Sideline Cancer Chapter in 2016. Her work done on behalf of the Griffith Family Foundation and Sideline Cancer provides a superb example of Sideline Cancer’s rallying phrase: “Where Wisdom Meets Energy.”

On March 1, 2018, the Sideline Cancer community entered yet another important phase by becoming an official student club at Penn State University. University Park students Sierra Cobler and Caitlyn Edgell, along with Griffith Family Foundation Liaison Marissa Lombardi conducted all the necessary research, submitted all the appropriate paperwork, and made all the essential connections that allowed us to reach this new benchmark. One significant step made during that process was the selection of Dr. James Adair as club advisor.

Dr. Adair is Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at University Park. He is also the 2018 recipient of the Invent Penn State “Inventor of the Year” for his outstanding work and collaboration in Cancer research and use of nanotechnology. The key principle at the core of his research is “Kill the cancer. Do no harm to the patient.”

Similar to the goals of the first Sideline Cancer Chapter established at Saint Francis University, the goal of this newly established PSU Sideline Cancer Club is to raise awareness for Pancreatic Cancer research by hosting collaborative Pancreatic Cancer Student Forums such as the one scheduled for Friday, April 17th, 2020.

Several of the panel memebers from our 2019 Symposium at the Devorris Center in Altoona, PA will also be at our 2020 Forum at the Nittany Lion Inn in State College, PA.

Click here to see the highlight video and photos from that event.

Panelists for the 2020 Forum

Below is a list of the key participants presenting to students and community members at our upcoming Pancreatic Cancer Youth Forum. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions to our panel regarding a marketable early detection test for Pancreatic Cancer. Additionally, we will be encouraging audience members to ask questions regarding the Marshal Plan of Action for Pancreatic Cancer and how it is being coordinated through research, government, and pharma.

Dr. A James Moser is Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School; Co-Director of the Pancreas and Liver Institute; and Co-Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Program, Surgical Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Moser leads Project Survival, which aims to discover and validate a bio-marker to detect and cure Pancreatic Cancer.

Dr. Adair James Adair is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He is considered an expert on nanomaterials, especially for drug delivery. He is also the Invent Penn State 2018 “Inventor of the Year,” and the Penn State Sideline Pancreatic Cancer Club advisor.

Dr. Shyam Thakkar is the AHN Chief of Endoscopy at Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA and Associate Professor of Medicine at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.

Saint Francis University Center for Rural Cancer Survivorship, within the School of Health Sciences and Education, is a comprehensive Interdisciplinary center developed to provide outpatient services to all cancer patients and survivors. The centers’ directors are – from left to right – Dr. Stephen Baker (Psychology), Dr. Stephen LoRusso (Exercise Physiology), and Dr. Ivan Mulligan (Physical Therapy), who guide the educational (Master of Science in Cancer Care), the clinical exercise oncology program, and survivorship research studies.

Dr. Brian Boone is an Assistant Professor of Surgical Oncology at West Virginia University. He is also a faculty member at the WVU Cancer Institute, the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology. His clinical focus is on minimally invasive robotic pancreatic surgery and his research lab studies the role of neutrophil extracellular traps in Pancreatic Cancer and cancer associated hypercoagulability.

Dr. Ralph McKibbin is a member of the Blair Gastroenterology Associates, the Pennsylvania Society of Gastroenterology, and the Digestive Disease National. Dr. McKibbin has been a leading voice for the cancer community on a local and national level.

Dr. Matt Moyer is an Associate Professor, Division of Gastroenterology
at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Cancer Institute.

Download a copy of the 2020 Forum Program

Agenda for Friday, April 17, 2020

8:30 am – 9:00 am

Coffee & Check-in

9:00 am – 9:10 am


Brother Shamas McGenra – Cancer Survivor
Lisa Georgiana – Director, Center for Service & Learning at Saint Francis University

9:10 am – 9:30 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Cathy Griffith – President and Founder The Griffith Family Foundation
Dr. A James Moser – Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Dr. James Adair – Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University, Sideline Cancer at Penn State University Club Advisor
Josh Cobler – President of Sideline Cancer at Penn State
Marrisa Lombardi – Griffith Family Foundation Liaison

9:30 am – 9:45 am

Video Presentation

The History of “Sideline Cancer”

9:45 am – 11:00 am

Panel Introduction and Discussion

11:00 am – 11:15 am


11:15 am – 11:30 am

Group Photo

11:30 am – 11:45 am

Closing Remarks & Adjourn

11:45 am – 1:00 pm


Sponsor The “I CAN Sideline Pancreatic Cancer” Youth Forum

With the amount of talent and energy that will be joining together at this Forum, it’s easy to see how collaborative events like these are significant in the global campaign to find a cure for Pancreatic Cancer.

If you would like to contribute to help with the organizing and hosting of this Forum, we are offering several sponsorship opportunities.

Sponsor Levels Available:

  • $2500 Signature Sponsorship
  • $1000 Gold
  • $500 Silver
  • $250 Bronze

If you have any questions about becoming a sponsor, please call (814) 937-1082, or send an email to

A special thank you to United We Can of Blair County for helping to make events like these possible.