Family creates foundation in their fatherís name
Kim Williams

September, 2010

Pancreatic cancer kills 95 percent of people who are diagnosed with it, according to Dr. Meir Stampfer of the Harvard School of Public Health.

The Tisdale Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer is the only foundation in Texas to support people with this fatal illness. The foundation was started by Tonyah Tisdale after the loss of her late husband, Dewrell.

“Pancreatic cancer is a very serious form of cancer with a very high mortality rate. Dewrell was one of the youngest in Texas, if not in the United States, to get pancreatic cancer; he died at the age of 39, only 10 months after being diagnosed with this illness,” said Tisdale. “It was very expensive for us to provide care for him during this time. This foundation was formed to honor Dewrell’s memory and to provide support for the families that are directly impacted by this devastating disease.”

Tisdale believes the foundation can be a terrific asset to those in Texas who suffer with pancreatic cancer. Her direct experience as a spouse of a cancer victim has helped create the basis for the charity.

“While other pancreatic cancer foundations are focused on medical research, the Tisdale Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer will provide financial support to the families impacted by pancreatic cancer,” Tisdale said. “Working primarily with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the Tisdale Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer will identify families and award stipends to provide help with medical treatments, parking, travel expenses for medical treatment, medication, food and other living expenses.”

Tisdale knows firsthand what it is like to fight cancer, and she has felt the impact personally that other families experience.

“It is very hard on some families,” said Tisdale. “Most families have to travel to receive treatment, as there are only a few hospitals in Texas that treat patients with pancreatic cancer. We lived in Padre Island and had to go to Houston for treatment.”

Pancreatic cancer is a very deadly form of cancer, and Tisdale wants to help families by raising funds in a walk-a-thon at 9 a.m. Saturday at Oak Point Park located at 6000 Jupiter Road.

The 2.5-mile walk will take place near the amphitheater.

“This will be the first major fundraiser for the Tisdale Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer. The goal of the first walk is to raise $10,000, which will allow the foundation to serve more than 20 Texas families suffering with pancreatic cancer,” Tisdale said. “The purpose of this foundation is to raise funds to help families who are in need due to this disease.”

Tisdale believes that because pancreatic cancer is such a rare cancer, a lot of cities do not have doctors who can treat it, which requires families to travel in order to get the help they need to fight the disease.

“We feel this walk will help bring the community together and get citizens involved while raising funds for families affected by pancreatic cancer,” Tisdale said. “We also want to educate and make the community aware of how truly devastating this type of cancer is.”

After researching the disease, Tisdale found that 87 percent of patients who get it will pass away within a year of diagnosis, while the other 13 percent will pass within three to five years.

“It will raise awareness of this disease that many, like myself, may not know anything about until it enters into your life,” Tisdale said.