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Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Days in D.C. June 17-18th, 2013

2013 June 18
by Scott Metcalf




Dianne Cancer Free!

2011 November 5
by Mary Kay

Dear Barb’s Army,
Just a quick update on Barb’s sister Dianne, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last month. Dianne had a double mastectomy. The left breast had cancer but the sentinal node is CLEAR. The right breast had pre-cancer, so it was a good decision to take that out as well. Dianne will NOT need chemotherapy or radiation as the cancer was caught VERY early. Dianne was able to have the drains removed after 8 days post op. She continues to rest, but she has more freedom of movement without the drains. Thank you for the prayers!
On another note, Sacramento had its first ever Purple Stride event. There were over 300 people on a cold day walking in Elk Grove Park. Barbstrong had 15 walkers and raised $800 for pancreatic cancer research. I was so proud to be a part of such a wonderful event in my own backyard! A big thank you to my wonderful friends and family who came out to support Barb’s memory. The favorite sign we made said,”Cancer Sucks!” WE WILL FIND A CURE!
Love to all, MK

Barb’s sister Dianne has Breast Cancer

2011 September 28
by Mary Kay

Dear Family and Friends of Barb,

I wanted everyone who was so supportive of Barb to pray for her sister Dianne (Doc). She was diagnosed on Monday, September 26th with breast cancer. The doctor thinks they caught it early, so that is very good news. Scott Metcalf has set up a website to go to for information on Dianne…..just like we did for Barb. I will do the postings when there is news to tell. The site is It is up and running and Dave has done a wonderful first post with a complete update. Thank you for the prayers for Dianne, her husband Dave, and their 3 girls.

There is a part of me that can’t believe we are doing this again, but we are a strong family and will be there to support Dianne! Now we will all wear purple AND pink!

God Bless and Love to All, MK

To My Family & Friends

2011 September 9
by Jason

I have never posted anything on the website. I’ve thought about trying to do so on numerous occasions but finding the word to express my feelings has been difficult.

I miss my wife. We faced many challenges in our years together, especially toward the end, but we had a great life. We were blessed with two beautiful boys who kept us on our toes and a love that sustained us over the years. We always had the support of our loved ones who stood by us and supported us. It has been a year and I know some of you are thinking about Barb and what a wonderful person she was. This day isn’t any different for the boys and I. EVERYDAY we wake up and face the reality that Barb is gone. We get ourselves together and do our best to live the day well, as Barb would want for us.

I know some of you are thinking about Barb and what a wonderful person she was. This day isn’t any different for the boys and I. Everyday we wake up and face the reality that Barb is gone. We get ourselves together and do our best to live the day well, as Barb would want for us.

If I could ask one thing of you today, when you think of Barb, please celebrate her life by sharing a happy, even fun moment together. Talk and laugh. Barb loved to TALK and laugh and she would appreciate the shared laughter of her loved ones as they exchange stories of the great times. We’ll grieve because we love her and miss her, but don’t forget to celebrate her life.

I’d like to especially thank those who have helped us to continue on in our daily lives. Matt and Jimmy are always busy swimming, golfing and growing up and I don’t know what we’d do without the efforts of those who lend us a hand on a daily basis, helping us get where we need to be and make sure we have ourselves put together. I’d also like to take the chance to thank everyone, especially those who offered daily support to us through the final days of Barb’s life. We will continue to work together. Matt, Jimmy and I carry with us your ongoing words of encouragement, kindness and love, as well as the blessed memory of Barb, in our hearts.

Finally, I thank Barb for having been a part of my life. I love you and will miss you always.


Matt and Jimmy California Visit

2011 July 24
by Mary Kay

Dear Family and Friends,
Matt and Jimmy came out to California for much of June and July.
Matt began his journey at Camp Kesem, UC Davis. This is a camp for children ages 8-16 who have lost a parent to cancer, or have a parent undergoing cancer treatment. The camp is on the coast between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz and it is FREE for all children. The counselor/camper ratio is one counselor for every 2 campers! Matt had a great time and plans to come back to Camp Kesem UC Davis next year. After camp, Matt went to Newport Beach to be with the Boylan family. Matt went to the beaches with his cousins, fishing, and ultimately down to San Diego for his cousin Andrew’s wedding. After the wedding, Matt went to Bakersfield for two days to visit some family and friends, and then went back south to La Canada to visit Aunt Katie and her family. He got sunburned at Manhattan beach and will NEVER forget to put on sunscreen again! He enjoyed going to Universal Studios, especially the parachute tube! He left La Canada and returned to Bakersfield to go with the Finch family (Aunt Joan and Jeff and children) to Shaver Lake for the 4th of July weekend. Matt absolutely loved fishing with his Uncle Jeff and cousin Julianne and caught many trout at Shaver. He learned how to completely gut, scale and cook a fish. He is sure turning into an outdoorsman! After Shaver, Grandma Haller took Matt up to the Link house…that’s me and Ken and Jarrett. Matt became Jarrett’s younger brother and the two were inseparable. We did a water slide park, jelly belly factory, Giants game, and Matt learned FIFA soccer on a PS3! He is determined to play and defeat Jarrett when they meet again! After a week with us, Matt headed over to his Uncle Dan’s for a short visit with his family in Alamo. After two days in Alamo, Matt went to his Aunt Dianne’s house in Half Moon Bay. He spent time with his cousins for two more days with a highlight being a trip to Great America! Except for our house that doesn’t have a dog any longer, Matt enjoyed meeting all the family dogs! (Our dog Foxy died after 15 years with us.) Phoebe dog was probably the funniest as she ate some of Matt’s jelly bellies! Matt traveled back to Iowa on his own, changing planes in Denver! He is a well traveled teenager, as he just turned 13 on July 20th! On to Jimmy…….
Jimmy arrived with Matt in Sacramento, but he went to Camp Kesem at Stanford for two reasons: First, Stanford had more teenagers going to camp (40) and second, Jimmy wants to look at Stanford for college since they have a terrific computer science engineering department. Jimmy is quieter about Camp Kesem than Matt, but he is facebooking with the counselors, so I take that as a good thing! He also said he enjoyed their 3 day backpacking trip. After Camp Kesem, Jimmy went down to Newport Beach with his Boylan family and did the beach stuff with his cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. He then went to Andrew’s wedding on the campus of University of San Diego, but he didn’t have much time to tour that campus. Since Jimmy is a Rising Junior, he is starting to look at colleges. After Newport and San Diego, Jimmy came up to Katie’s house in La Canada. Katie and I took him on tours of Cal Tech and USC. Jimmy liked Cal Tech, but feels it is too small and he wants the entire college feel. Katie and I were very impressed with the tour and the quality of students. The professor/student ratio is 1 prof for every 3 students. Sheesh, what great professor time each student gets! The next day we started off our drive to USC with fight music blaring from the USC band. Katie and Jimmy both had on USC hats! I tried to wear Duke, but that got nixed! USC has a new admissions building that was amazing. The talk was extremely informative and then we went on our 2 hour tour of the campus. When we went to Cal Tech Jimmy walked with us or behind us. When we went to USC, Jimmy led! He was so excited and Katie was so happy that he truly bonded with her alma mater! Anyway, I know both Barb and Kevin were smiling that day as I had found a dime and a penny touching in Katie’s car when we left for that visit! Jimmy will continue to look at other colleges, but I felt USC was on the top of his list at this point. Jimmy wanted to get back to Iowa to start practicing his golf for his high school team, so he left from Southern California when Matt headed up to Bakersfield to go to Shaver Lake.
Jason spent the week with the boys in Newport Beach and San Diego, so that was a nice break from work for him.
That is the latest update. I do want to let everyone know that Dianne and I went to Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Days in Washington, DC in June for 5 days. We lobbied on the HILL for the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act. We wore purple all the time and it was an incredible experience for both of us. We were surrounded by over 500 people advocating for pancreatic cancer research money. WE both plan to go back next year and do it again until this disease receives more money for research and they find a way to slow it down…..or maybe find a CURE! It was great to meet some of the Iowa pancreatic cancer advocates! I believe one of the advocates name was Megan, but she is six years old from Des Moines area and she got up and spoke to our entire group. Not a dry eye in the place when she showed us her picture of her dad parachuting and how she wants to find a cure for pancreatic cancer so no other child has to grow up without a dad dying from this horrible disease! What a trooper she was!
That’s it from here. God Bless, Love, MK
PS Sacramento is having our FIRST Purple Stride Walk this year, and I have a team named BARBSTRONG! Barb will always live on in our hearts!