Joseph C. Monastra passed away April 4, 2002, only four short weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  In honor of Monastra’s memory, his family established the Joseph C. Monastra (JCM) Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization. The mission of the JCM Foundation is to engage in charitable, educational and scientific activities, including funding research, scientific endeavors and other activities directed at eradication of cancer — specifically pancreatic cancer. Money raised by the JCM Foundation supports early detection research at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (JHMI) and Emory University — Winship Cancer Institute, which includes breakthrough research in the genetic analysis of single pancreatic cancer cells and defining the molecular changes that underlie the moment of invasion in pancreatic cancer.

The Monastra family of the JCM Foundation, from left: Vice President Pamela Monastra; Secretary Maureen Monastra-Vrh; President Grace Saunders; and Treasurer Monica Monastra Lodge.

Other critical initiatives funded by the JCM Foundation over the past 15 years include research to improve diagnosis, classification, and clarification of the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic cancers and to focus on the genetics and biological determinants of familial pancreatic cancer risks. With the continued support of the JCM Foundation, JHMI has made significant progress in the analysis of sequence data from the genomes of more than 650 familial pancreatic cancers patients.

As a firm advocate of the need for grassroots funding, the JCM Foundation continues to host fundraising events from Chicago to Atlanta. From motorcycle rides and 5K races to art auctions and golf tournaments, the JCM Foundation remains committed to continuing the fight to find an early detection for pancreatic cancer. This year, we are excited to host our inaugural “Cheers for a Cure” on November 11th at the Cress Creek Country Club in Naperville, Ill.  Attendees will be treated to 50 different wine tastings, cocktails, food stations, a silent auction/raffle, a live band and more! For more information and to register and buy tickets, please go to Cheers for a Cure.

The JCM Foundation is actively involved in the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition with a board member currently serving on the World Pancreatic Cancer Day (WPCD) committee. We have joined the WPCC in an effort to work globally with other like-minded organizations to make a bigger impact in pancreatic cancer research and patient care.