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Why I PMC - Joe Marino

December 12, 2017

Guest post by Joe Marino

My name is Joe Marino and I’m riding in the 2018 PMC Winter Cycle event at Fenway Park, I have previously ridden in the Resolution spinning event at the George Foreman Gym.  I’m also a 44 month survivor of Pancreatic Cancer.  I was diagnosed on March 3rd, 2014 and had a Whipple onwith this disease I have become extremely proactive in the fight against Pancreatic Cancer.  April 2nd 2014, I was 36 years old when I was diagnosed.  

All forms of Cancer are extremely serious and change the lives of both those diagnosed and of course all of their family and friends.   I didn’t know a lot about Pancreatic Cancer when I was first diagnosed, however that all changed very quickly once I first received that call about having a 4 CM spot in my Pancreas.  It didn’t take much searching to realize that Pancreatic Cancer has one of the highest fatality rates of any form of Cancer and that the 5 year survival rate was only 6% at that time, it's now moved up to 9% over the past few years. That rate of course is still much too low and we need to continue to make huge strides focusing on early detection for Pancreatic Cancer.  I was one of the very fortunate ones who was eligible for a Whipple Surgery, which is an extremely long and complex surgery that unfortunately most people who are diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer aren't candidates for.  The reason behind this is that the symptoms often don’t appear until the disease has metastasized to a point where surgery would cause more harm than good.

Not a day goes by where I don’t realize how blessed I have been to have found my tumor when it was Stage One and to be around such amazing doctors, nurses and hospitals.  I had my Whipple Surgery at Mass General Hospital and it was performed by Dr. Carlos Fernandez Del-Castillo who is The Director of Pancreas and Biliary Surgery Program at MGH.   


It was a long recovery and there are still days where I am much more tired than someone in my physical condition normally would be and my diet is extremely restricted however those are both such minor issues compared to most diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.   I will golf regularly, exercise at the gym and play fairly competitive basketball.  


Because of how fortunate I was.  I co-founded the Marino Donnelly Foundation, which focuses on early detection with Pancreatic Cancer and especially with younger families dealing with this disease. We just recently had our 4th annual charity casino night for Pancreatic Cancer and we made a large donation to Massachusetts General Hospital and specifically towards their department focusing on Pancreatic Cancer research.  I’m also the team's ambassador for the Boston Affiliate of The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, our PurpleStride walk this past year raised over $500,000 and we had 40 survivors in attendance.  In addition to my efforts with this disease my sister and brother-in-law have been riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge the past few years.


I truly believe we are getting closer towards developing a test that will help others find their symptoms earlier when it comes towards Pancreatic Cancer and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.



December 5, 2017

I'm sure that my story is similar to many folks.  My sister, Nancy Adams, started losing weight at the end of 2011 for no good reason.  My normally strong and funny sister couldn’t eat and went into a deep depression.  She figured out that she had cancer before any of us wanted to admit it. 


Nancy fought small intestine cancer for 4 1/2 years.  It wasn't a cancer that many people know about and there certainly aren't any walks or anything like that to support raising research money.  I always felt so helpless - she was a pretty simple person and didn't want much in terms of material goods, but the Red Sox were always her favorite baseball team, even in the middle of NY State; and we did our best to make sure she was access to listening or watching her beloved Red Sox! It was our favorite topic of conversation. 


She died in August of 2016.  Last year at this time (my birthday is in November) I was feeling at loose ends. I wasn't looking forward to my first birthday after losing her. We didn't talk a lot but we always did for our birthdays, and it was feeling pretty silent. She had a wicked sense of humor.  But at the same time, I was looking forward to a couple of great weddings to come - my daughter and now son-in-law and my niece and her new husband.   I needed to get back into some fitness routine for both the mental and physical pieces of my health but wasn't sure what to do. And then I went to my first Spin Class at the Charlestown Y! 

I met John Campbell - the Spin J for the Monday and Friday classes - and found out that he rode the "big" Pan-Mass Challenge in honor/memory of some friends of his that had dealt with cancer. And I found out that my friend, Ken Mostello was also riding the "big" Pan-Mass Challenge. I was so excited and proud to support both of them. I also decided to add the "big" PMC to my bucket list. And then I found out there was something that I could do a little sooner that fit in with my new found Spin fun - the PMC Winter Challenge!  I think I might have been the first one to register for it that day! 

I am so stoked that it's at Fenway Park - Nancy would love it!  And I feel like it is finally some way that I might make even more of a difference in this fight against cancer.  So here it comes, I can’t wait to knock it out of the park for Nancy! 

Best wishes to all the riders and thanks to all of my support! 

Guest post byLinda Adams Chateauneuf

Why I PMC - Kelley Bernard

November 28, 2017

My freshman year of high school, I was an average 14 year old girl. I spent a lot of time with my 4 siblings, I danced every day at my Mothers dance school, and I played goalkeeper competitively on 2 different soccer teams. While playing winter season, I took a soccer ball to the stomach leading to 2 months of pain, bruising and fatigue. Originally written off as a sports injury, ultimately led my parents and I to Boston Children’s Hospital and a final diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. 

I underwent a grueling 2 year treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, spending a lot of time inpatient at Boston Children’s Hospital. I watched and experienced the incredible nurses who dedicate their lives to taking care of children and families at the scariest and most vulnerable moments of their lives. Their strength, optimism and ability to comfort patients and their loved ones was inspiring, and I wanted to be just like them. 

I finished my treatment during the summer before my senior year of high school. I completed my sophomore and junior year online and graduated in 2010, on time, and with my friends and was accepted into the nursing program at Saint Anselm College.

Today, I am 10 years cancer free, and am a Pediatric Oncology Nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital. I ride for the friends I made and I fought beside , and the brave patients and families I have the honor of taking care of today.

PMC Note - Kelley Bernard road her first Pan-Mass Challenge in 2017, and will ride the PMC Winter Cycle at Fenway Park on January 27, 2018 as the Captain of Team Flames. She will ride in the Noon session!



Register to Ride #PMCWinterCycle




(guest blog by Kelley Bernard)

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