Why We Started the Walk

Neil Piper lost four family members to pancreatic cancer – his mother, sister,  brother and uncle. This motivated Neil and Shari Piper to organize the Walk.

In 1981, Neil lost his mother to pancreatic cancer.  She was diagnosed, and 14 months later, in June 1981, Resa passed away.  Although it was a devastating time for Neil and the family, he thought, “ok, it’s cancer – one of hundreds”.

In November 1991, ten years after Resa was diagnosed, Neil’s paternal uncle succumbed to PC.  Surely this was coincidence?  But right around the time of Uncle Louie’s passing, Neil’s sister Barbara was diagnosed with PC. Just four months after Uncle Louie passed away,  Neil also lost Barbara to this awful disease.  Mere coincidence was eliminated.

For a while, things quieted down and the Pipers got on with their lives.  Not for long…once again, PC struck.  In Aug. 2001, Neil’s brother Bruce was diagnosed with PC, and a short year later, in August 2002, Bruce passed away.  Over a twenty year period, PC had removed Neil’s mother, uncle, sister and brother from his life.  Neil now knew with the inevitability of circumstance, that he was “wired” for pancreatic cancer.

The Pipers researched the literature for information on detection and cure.  They learned of the Lustgarten Foundation and its dedication to fight PC and promote pancreatic cancer research.  The Pipers decided to become involved in Lustgarten’s fight. In 2004, they organized the first Capital District Walk for Pancreatic Cancer to help the Lustgarten Foundation.  They have been organizing the walk ever since.  The Pipers hope that organizing this walk will make a difference by raising community awareness, raising funds for the Lustgarten Foundation, and by getting the community involved.

Now you know the Pipers’ story.  If you are visiting this site, you too probably have a story to share.  We invite you to consider sharing the story on the blog.  If you live within driving distance of the Albany Capital District, we urge you to join the Pipers in the annual Walk for Hope to support the Lustgarten Foundation’s efforts to develop early detection and cure of pancreatic cancer.

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