Participants warm up for Pam’s Run

REMEMBER LAST YEAR?—It was a cool, rainy day at the ninth running of the Westlake Village Pancreatic Cancer Research Run/Walk in 2017. This year’s event will be Sat., Feb. 24 at Westlake Village City Hall. Acornfile photo

REMEMBER LAST YEAR?—It was a cool, rainy day at the ninth running of the Westlake Village Pancreatic Cancer Research Run/Walk in 2017. This year’s event will be Sat., Feb. 24 at Westlake Village City Hall. Acornfile photo

The 10th annual Westlake Village Pancreatic Cancer Research Run/Walk will be held Sat., Feb. 24 at Westlake Village City Hall, 31200 Oak Crest Drive.

Onsite registration for what is also known as Pam’s Run will begin at 7 a.m.

The 10K Run/Walk will start at 8 a.m. The 5K Run/Walk will commence at 9:30 a.m.

The 1K Kids Fun Run will begin at 10:30 a.m.

This year’s event will feature live music from the Steve Bardwil Band, food and expo vendors.

A catered VIP breakfast will be provided for the individuals and group captains whose teams raise a minimum of $1,500.

Sisters Kristen and Jessica Bardwil founded the event after losing their mother, Pam, an avid runner and beloved member of the community, to pancreatic cancer.

The Bardwils have exceeded their $1-million fundraising goal as of last year’s race.

Due to the event’s partnership with The Lustgarten Foundation, America’s largest private foundation that funds pancreatic cancer research, every dollar raised at the event will go directly to pancreatic cancer research.

“We are so thankful for the community’s support,” says Kristen Bardwil (now Kristen Van Den Houten) “We are looking forward to continue our work with the community to raise as much money and awareness as possible.”

“We know firsthand how devastating this illness is,” says Jessica Bardwil Reiss. “Fundraising and research are key.”

“The progress we have made since the event began is incredible,” said Ann Walsh, director of events at the Lustgarten Foundation. “With the help of Kristen and Jessica, and other supporters around the country, we are starting to see real progress. Patients are living longer with better quality of life.”

Pancreatic cancer most often goes undetected until it’s too late. There are no early detection tests, no effective long-term treatments and, unless the cancer is surgically removed in its earliest stages, no cure.

More than 43,000 people are expected to die from it this year. The overall five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 8 percent. Most people with advanced pancreatic cancer die within a year.

Recently the Lustgarten Foundation funded a promising study. In 2017, the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center announced results from a new research study that holds the potential to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage by determining harmless pancreatic cysts from precancerous ones.

This study has uncovered a specific combination of gene mutations that can distinguish cancerous cysts from some non-cancerous cysts by obtaining small volumes of liquid obtained from patients by needle biopsy.

This is a step toward early detection that holds the potential for testing cysts that have been discovered through imaging technologies.

Dangerous cysts would be removed immediately before they became a malignant cancer, and benign cysts could be left alone without unnecessary surgery.

Also, as result of Lustgarten funded research, the FDA approved Keytruda (pembrolizumab), the first immunotherapy treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer patients whose tumors have a unique genetic mutation.

The mutation, called mismatch repair deficiency, plays a role in cancer development and alters pancreatic cancer patients’ ability to repair DNA.

Visit events.lustgarten.org/ WestlakeVillagePCWalkRun for more information and to register for the race.