Community Voices

For survivors of pancreatic cancer, new hope for the future

Sharing inspiration and information about pancreatic cancer treatments are from left, Dr. Nipun Merchant, survivor Robert Glazier and Dr. Michael VanSaun. The doctors are part of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UHealth-University of Miami Health System.
Sharing inspiration and information about pancreatic cancer treatments are from left, Dr. Nipun Merchant, survivor Robert Glazier and Dr. Michael VanSaun. The doctors are part of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UHealth-University of Miami Health System.

There is always hope.

More than 40 attendees, including 13 pancreatic cancer survivors, gathered recently for a free educational lecture featuring leading experts Nipun Merchant and Michael VanSaun from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The event was hosted by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

The survivors, newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer patients, and caregivers heard about new treatment approaches and novel research developments for the disease, which has a five-year survival rate of just 8 percent.

Among the attendees was Robert Glazier, a survivor diagnosed in June 2013.

“A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is very scary,” said Glazier, 57, in email. “But there are new developments being made daily and monthly, with many around the corner. This event gave me the opportunity to hear firsthand about these developments from leading experts in the pancreatic cancer space.”

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network hosts free educational events throughout the year. The next webinar will be on June 13 to discuss immunotherapy. Register at

“When I was diagnosed, I assumed I had only a short time left to live,” said Glazier. “I had to deal with that new reality. But because of recent medical developments, I have had to wrestle with a new reality: I can live for many more years. For me, pancreatic cancer may be a chronic condition, not a fatal disease.”

For more information about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit

“People need knowledge about these developments, and they need hope. Events like this provide both,” Glazier said.


“ReJoyce” and be part of a tradition to mark Bloomsday in our community on June 16.

This annual international event remembers the quests of two fictional residents of Dublin, Ireland — Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom — highlighted in James Joyce’ masterpiece Ulysses.

This will be the 112th Bloomsday anniversary and you can join in starting at 6 p.m. June 16 at The Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes of the 1900 to 1920 era such as bowler hats, waistcoats, stiff collared shirts, dressy hats, flapper dresses and frocks.

But you do not need to dress up to enjoy popular singer, instrumentalist and songwriter Paddy Kelleghan, who will tell stories of his native Dublin and sing favorite songs of his youth.

The free event also includes some readings from Ulysses by University of Miami lecturer of English Barry Devine, and the famous parade around the block to John Martin’s Restaurant led by a bagpiper and drummer. The low-cost Bloomsday Feast at John Martin’s completes the night.

For millions around the world, June 16 is an extraordinary day to mark an odyssey, and perhaps begin your own. Our Bloomsday is sponsored by the South Florida Emerald Society and the St. Patrick’s Day Committee. For more, call 305-271-2696.


Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services celebrated its 31st anniversary at the “Galactic Nights … Launching Into The Future” gala. More than 300 business leaders, philanthropists and advocates attended to help support and change the lives of youth who arrive at the Bridge to escape violence, abuse, neglect and human trafficking.

Miami Bridge is Miami-Dade County’s only 24-hour shelter for children and teens ages 10 to 17. Community contributions and fundraisers provide counseling, on-site education, trained clinical staff, health services, food, basic necessities, bed sheets and clothes for kids who arrive at the door with nothing.

For information on how to help, contact Marlys Johnson at 305-636-3520 or And visit


Enjoy summer the old-fashioned way with the “Great American Folk Song Sing-Along” featuring Matthew Sabatella, 6:30-7:30 p.m. June 16 at Brockway Library, 10021 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.

This special event will include the stories behind America’s most beloved favorites including Oh! Susanna, Home on the Range, Down in the Valley and Yankee Doodle. Call 305-758-8107 to register.


Congratulations to Rising Tide Car Wash on its 2016 Community Service Leadership Award from International Carwash Association®. Launched in 2013, Rising Tide Car Wash has a mission to employ adults with autism and is one of the largest employers of people with autism in America. The company has created 75 jobs in South Florida.

Rising Tide co-founders John and Thomas D’Eri created the business to find a solution to employment for individuals with autism after watching John’s son and Thomas’ brother, Andrew, struggle to find his place in the world.

“We are very pleased to have been honored with ICA’s Community Service Leadership Award,” said John D’Eri in a release. “We continue to strive to not only create opportunities for young adults with autism, but also provide the best high-quality car wash in the area.”

A second location is currently being built in Margate and is due to open in late 2016 or early 2017. It is estimated it will create about 50 new jobs. For more visit


Here’s one more chance to enjoy “Flying Solo II-UK,” the triple-bill, bio-dramas presented by community theater group What if Works and the Homestead Center for the Arts. The one-night-only fundraiser will be at 7 p.m. June 6 at GableStage at the Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.

Phillip M. Church directs the three plays, and funds will help support the group on its journey to the United Kingdom to perform and conduct workshops with “at-risk” youth.

A general admission ticket is $10, minimum donation. Contact or call 305-271-1073 for tickets in advance. Or buy them at the door. You can visit for more on the group’s plays, plots and mission.


Thank you, dear readers, for writing to me about your positive community news. I always look forward to learning about your good work, and spreading the word through my Friends and Neighbors column. I will be on vacation for the rest of June. Wishing you a wonderful summer!

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at