Gaillard Family Pancreatic Cancer Research Endowment
It seems today that almost everyone has a friend or family member who has been affected by cancer. While physicians and researchers have made substantial progress in the treatment of many forms of cancer, pancreatic cancer continues to evade early detection and effective treatment. Due to the deadly nature of the disease, a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is very difficult news to receive. Unfortunately, the Gaillard family has received this difficult news too often. Tommy and Peter Gaillard, brothers well known in the Mobile business community, both died of pancreatic cancer in 2011. In addition, their sister, Martha Gaillard Teague, and Peter's daughter, Mary Ladd Turner, both have been treated for other forms of cancer. The entire extended family now lives with the concern that they, or their children, may one day be faced with this dreaded disease.
Recognizing the need for advanced cancer research in their own community, the Gaillard family approached the Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI) about their desire to establish a research endowment. Through their own personal investments and many memorial gifts made in loving memory of Peter and Tommy, the family established the Gaillard Pancreatic Cancer Research Endowment at the Mitchell Cancer Institute in 2011. "Pancreatic Cancer is a silent killer with an estimated 43,140 new cases diagnosed last year resulting in 36,800 deaths," said Laurie Owen, Ph.D., Barbara Colle Chair and Associate Director for Basic and Translational Science at MCI. It is considered a silent killer because it develops without any early symptoms. Researchers at the Mitchell Cancer Institute are working on innovative methods to improve early detection rates, as well as therapeutic options for patients with pancreatic cancer. The endowment has already helped provide a critical foundation to expand ongoing diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic strategies in pancreatic cancer with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.
The Gaillard family has come up with a creative way to help fund the endowment and this necessary research. In 2012, the inaugural Salty Worm Brackish Classic Fishing Tournament and Delta Bash were held with all of the proceeds going toward the endowment. "My father and my Uncle Peter were both outdoorsmen who loved to fish the waters of the Alabama coast and the Mobile- Tensaw Delta, so this fundraiser is a fitting tribute to them," said Tom Gaillard m. The unique environment in the Mobile Bay area allows for this one-of-a-kind tournament where saltwater fishermen and freshwater fishermen can compete for prizes in bass, speckled trout, and a combination division. The second annual Salty Worm Fishing Tournament is scheduled for November 2, 2013 at the Blue Gill Restaurant on the Causeway. It will be followed that afternoon by the Delta Bash featuring a seafood buffet, blue-grass music, and fun activities for the whole family.
"We are optimistic that our efforts will help the Mitchell Cancer Institute to one day find a cure for pancreatic cancer," said Gaillard, "but the first step is to find a method for early detection and the researchers at MCI have recently made some important progress in that regard with the help provided by this endowment."