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About Last Night

VMB & Let's Win! Pancreatic Cancer Benefit

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Last Thursday, on World Pancreatic Cancer Day, Veronica Miele Beard attended a benefit for Let's Win!, a nonprofit platform to share pancreatic cancer research, treatment, stories and experiences. Her friend Staci Grodin, a former #VBGIVESBACK partner, was being honored along with her husband, Rich, who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer a few years. "Thank you, Stacy and Rich, for thinking differently about the cure," says Veronica. "You inspire me every day with hope and healing."

Below, an excerpt from Rich's beautiful speech.

Veronica Miele Beard, middle, with Staci and Rich Grodin, wearing purple for pancreatic cancer awareness

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Essay

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After a few days of [chemo] treatment each week, I forced myself to go play golf or basketball or something to make me feel alive. I read a book by Lance Armstrong, who had testicular and brain cancer, and how he rode his bike 30 miles every day—treatment or no treatment. So I forced myself, no matter how bad I was feeling, to do something….

In addition, my friends and family really uplifted me during my recovery. I read another book about how important laughter was in recovery. So I spent time with the people who really made me feel good. Everyone here knows who those people are in their own lives. My kids knew what I was going through, but I think they saw me recovering and getting better and seemed to treat me normally, which is what I want. I know, for me, I like when people who know about this treat me like nothing has happened.

I don't want to give the impression this was all easy for me. In the beginning, I was mentally really shaken. There was plenty of rough days and weeks.

VMB and Dr. Allyson Ocean, Let's Win Co-Founder and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College

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“When you see only the good in people, life gets a lot better.”

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As an athlete, I sought the help of a coach. She's here tonight. Her name is Marissa Harris. She's a survivor of pancreatic cancer, stage four…. I tried to model my behavior from her experiences. She also was able to give me so much confidence when I was telling her what I was doing. As someone who has counseled many [pancreatic cancer] patients, her telling me that I was doing extraordinary really helped my mind and give me a lot of hope. This counseling is not for everyone. She made me dig deep into my life and really see the positive in having pancreatic cancer. That sounds crazy, right? Seeing the positive of having cancer?

You know what, though? When you get a diagnosis like this, it shakes you to your core. I really examined all the people in the relationships in my life. I reached out to people I hadn't spoke to in years and spent time with them. I dropped any petty nonsense that I was harboring and just focused on why this person was important to me and how grateful I was to have them in my life. When you see only the good in people, life gets a lot better. — Rich Grodin

The 4th annual Let's Win Together benefit in New York

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