The Cancer Research Society is proud to announce the 20th edition of Ski for a Cure, an event in memory of Rob Lutterman, which will be held on Saturday, February 16th 2019, at Mont Sutton. For this special edition, family and friends will be coming together for an entire day of ski activities to help raise funds for cutting-edge pancreatic cancer research.
For the last 20 years, over 1.2 million dollars have been distributed in research grants thanks to Ski for a Cure. The Rob Lutterman Memorial fund was our first fund dedicated to pancreatic cancer. Thanks to this great initiative, our researchers have opened the path towards significant improvements in how we detect and treat the disease.” Max Fehlmann, President and CEO at the Cancer Research Society.
Recently, a very promising avenue has been investigated by renowned Canadian scientists who received funding from the Rob Lutterman Memorial Fund. They have found it now possible to improve the survival rate of certain patients with an inoperable advanced stage cancer by administering a treatment adapted to their cancer sub-type, based on their genetics. Thanks to this practice called personalized medicine, researchers are hoping that in a near future, pancreatic cancer will become a chronic disease rather than the deadly disease it is now, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 10%. Fran Lutterman, Rob’s widow is optimistic: “We will keep on fighting as we are confident that the researchers we are helping to fund will come through with life-saving discoveries.”
In the winter of 1999, 63-year-old Rob Lutterman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Because of lack of symptoms, Rob had lived with pancreatic cancer for some time without knowing it and the disease had already progressed to other organs. “Rob was healthy and otherwise energetic. He wasn’t showing any symptom and he wasn’t in any pain. We were shocked by his diagnosis. He didn’t know he had cancer until it was too late, he passed away four short months after his diagnosis,” explains Fran.
To honor his memory, Fran and their two children, Joel and Randy, along with other family members and friends, came together to create the very first Ski for a Cure event, to raise awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer research. “Ski for a Cure came to mind because of Rob’s true passion for skiing. There is nothing that Rob loved more than to spend time skiing with our family at his favorite mountain, Mont Sutton in Quebec’s Eastern Townships,” says Fran.
Pancreatic cancer develops when malignant cells form in the tissues of the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach and in front of the spine. Pancreatic cancer is known to be quite deadly because it is so difficult to diagnose. Thus, the majority of cases are unfortunately not detected in the early stages when the tumor is the most treatable.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death and the one that presents the lowest survival rate: only eight percent of Canadians diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive five years after their diagnosis.