NewsLocal News


Group works to help pancreatic cancer patients: "we’ve seen the personal toll it takes"

Posted at 5:54 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 06:56:37-04

BALTIMORE, md. — A cancer diagnosis of any kind is life changing. Pancreatic Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases.

DR. Niraj Jani, the Chief of Gastroenterology and Director of GBMC’s Kroh Center for Digestive Diseases, explained how pancreatic cancer is typically not caught early since symptoms for this disease don't usually show up until the disease is more advanced. And many times, symptoms are thought to be something else. Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer are abdominal pain, back pain, weight loss or loss of appetite. Jaundice is a sign sometimes too. If you have any of these warning signs it's a good idea to get checked out, just in case.

"There’s been advancements in treatment of pancreatic cancer," said Dr. Jani. He added, "there’s always therapy. There’s always hope. That’s why it’s important to seek early medical evaluation."

Luckily for one Harford County woman, her pancreatic cancer was caught early. She was able to join the small percentage of pancreatic cancer survivors but it was a long road to get there. She didn't want to relive these experiences so we talked with her son, DJ Cuneo.

"My mother is an 8-year pancreatic cancer survivor which is very rare it’s a very deadly disease so for anyone to live that long after this is really a miracle honestly," said Cuneo. His mom is no in remission and sees and oncologist regularly. He added, "we feel very fortunate to have her and she just turned 70 actually so 8 years ago it was a completely different feeling. The total opposite of what we feel today."

Now, his group of friends, who've been there for him over the last eight years, are putting on a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer.

"It's benefiting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network which is the leading advocacy group for pancreatic cancer patients and families," said Eddie Vogel, one of Cuneo's best friends. He added, "we’ve been a part of some of the events in the past and seen the sense of community that really brings those affected by pancreatic cancer."

In addition to doing these events together, they play golf together and have since they were teenagers. So they figured hosting a golf tournament would be the perfect fundraiser. They're hosting the FORE! The Cure Open on September 17th at Geneva Farms Golf Course in Street.

"We really do like to give people the ability to earn and make money for their causes so it's why we like doing these," said Bill Buzzell, the Operations Manager for Geneva Farms. he said they try to help the community anyway they can. Something that was instilled in them from the man who opened the course in the early 90s.

This group of guys are making sure to get their practice swings in before the tournament this fall. While they know it will be a good time, they really hope this event will educate more people about pancreatic cancer and raise money for the pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

"It really is something that is so unfortunate for so many people but if we can keep fighting it than I think that's the best thing we can do," said Cuneo.

Their goal is to reach $10,000. Right now, they really need sponsors to make that goal attainable. To learn more or to donate, head over to