A  scene from a previous walk.

Neil and Shari Piper, who founded the annual Capital District Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk, which benefits The Lustgarten Foundation, a funder of research for the disease, report that the walk is scheduled this year for Sunday, Sept. 19, at Elm Avenue Town Park, 261 Elm Ave., Delmar. The family program begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. The walk starts at 10 a.m.

Pancreatic Cancer claimed the life of Neil’s mother, brother, sister and uncle. The goal of the annual walk is to raise awareness and to help fund Lustgarten Foundation-supported research, according to Shari Piper.

“We knew Neil, and most likely our children, were genetically ‘wired’ for pancreatic cancer,” Shari explained. “We could either bury our heads in the sand or become proactive in the fight against pancreatic cancer. We choose to become involved with the Lustgarten Foundation, especially when we learned 100% of every dollar raised funds pancreatic cancer research, with a focus on early detection and a cure for this disease.”

Shari and Neil Piper have two adult children and are congregants of Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany.

“We believe in the power of community and are committed to advancing the best science to transform pancreatic cancer into a curable disease,” said Linda Tantawi, CEO of the Lustgarten Foundation, the world’s largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research. “Walks like these provide a meaningful opportunity for our dedicated community—everyone who has been touched in some way by this devastating disease—to come together, get involved and turn their grief and fear into action. Together, we are accelerating discoveries toward a cure.”

Shari Piper pointed out that The Jewish World readers need to know that pancreatic cancer is more common in Jews than in the general population, and Ashkenazic Jews have a greater risk than Sephardic Jews.  According to Piper, a growing body of evidence suggests that increased pancreatic cancer risk for Ashkenazic Jews has a genetic basis; these cancers are caused by inherited mutations in specific cancer-associated genes, including the familial breast cancer genes BRCA2 and BRCA1. The risk of cancer to Jews who inherit a defective copy of BRCA2 or BRCA1 varies in different families. The reason for this variation in risk is thought to be dependent on “lifestyle factors” such as smoking, obesity, dietary influences, the inheritance of other cancer susceptibility genes and a certain element of chance.

Those interested in walk participation are asked to sign up at lustgarten.org/albanywalk as an individual, or part of a team. “ Virtual” participation is also welcome and individuals may also walk in their own neighborhoods.

Information may also be obtained by calling 866-789-1000.

Shari and Neil Piper at 518-475-1200 can provide walk details.