Seven-Year Pancreatic Cancer Survivor Named Chair Of The National Board Of Directors Of The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Jul 09, 2013, 12:02 ET from Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif., July 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is pleased to announce Laurie MacCaskill has been appointed Chair of the National Board of Directors of the organization, effective July 1. MacCaskill is the first pancreatic cancer patient to hold this position. She has defied the odds in her fight against pancreatic cancer, which has a five year survival rate of just six percent. Since her diagnosis in 2006, MacCaskill has served as a tireless volunteer and advocate for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.


"Pancreatic cancer has been life-changing for me in ways I never anticipated. The diagnosis was devastating, of course, but I've since had the opportunity to work with amazing people and witness how powerful we can be, even in the face of tremendous odds," said MacCaskill. "As part of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, I have seen a groundswell across the country in the movement to defeat this disease. I am proud and honored to serve the organization in this new capacity and look forward to even greater success in increasing the survival rate for people impacted by pancreatic cancer. People like me."

MacCaskill has an extensive background in advertising, having worked with major publications, such as Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and US News and World Report, and with the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. She also has co-owned a commercial design firm, and trained Fortune 500 company executives on honing their communication skills.

"Laurie has been a valued advisor on our board since 2009, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her in her new role as Chair of our National Board of Directors," stated Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "Not only does Laurie bring a wealth of professional knowledge and leadership, but firsthand perspective as a pancreatic cancer survivor."

Peter Kovler becomes the immediate past Chair after serving in the role for the last three years.  "On behalf of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, I would like to thank Peter Kovler for his unwavering support over the past several years as Chair. He led the organization during a critical time in our history and when we achieved significant milestones, including the passage of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act," said Fleshman.   

The organization has also appointed Jeanne Ruesch to Vice Chair effective July 1.  Ruesch serves on the board in honor of her late husband, Otto J. Ruesch

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About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization is leading the way to increase the survival rate for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative — The Vision of Progress: Double the Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rate by 2020. Together, we can know, fight and end pancreatic cancer by intensifying our efforts to heighten awareness, raise funds for comprehensive private research, and advocate for dedicated federal research to advance early diagnostics, better treatments and increase chances of survival.

SOURCE Pancreatic Cancer Action Network