This will be the 10th annual Race To Make a Difference for Pancreatic Cancer Research sponsored by the JCM Foundation in Hudson, OH. Each year hundreds of runners and walkers participate in honor of a family member or friend affected by Pancreatic Cancer.

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About Joseph Monastra

The Plain Dealer | Monday, April 8, 2002
RICHARD M. PERRY (Plain Dealer Reporter)

MACEDONIA - Joseph C. Monastra, 74, a defense industry engineer who held top level positions at TRW Inc., Argo Tech Corp. and Technautics Corp., died Thursday at his Macedonia home. In the 1980s, Monastra headed the Sidewinder Warhead Program for TRW and helped the company obtain the contract for the torpedo propulsion system. He was vice president of ArgoTech's ordnance system division from 1986 to 1991, and was responsible for marketing and new business development at Marine Mechanical Corp., later Technautics Corp.After he retired in 1993, he worked as a consultant.

Monastra was born in Cleveland. He graduated from East Technical High School and from Fenn College, now Cleveland State University. He began working at Thompson Aircraft Products in 1952, investigating fuel pump failures and conducting test programs. After the company became TRW, he helped develop and test booster nozzles for rockets. Monastra served in England on special assignment for the Army from 1954 to 1956. He later was an engineering instructor in the Washington area. He was a member of the Navy League of the United States and served on the steering committee of the underwater missile section of the American Defense Preparedness Association.

He married Grace Maureen Sicurezza 42 years ago. In addition to his wife, Monastra is survived by daughters, Grace Marie Saunders and Monica Lodge, both of Hudson, Antoinette Engelke of Phoenix, and Pamela Swanson of Atlanta; and seven grandchildren.

From the Family   

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that we are writing you, our beloved husband and father Joseph C. Monastra passed away on April 4, 2002. Joseph passed away only four short weeks after being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), no effective early detection methods have been developed, there are minimal treatment options available and very little research is presently under way due to limited research funding.

In honor of Joseph's memory, we have established the "Joseph C. Monastra Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research" at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. We are asking that you please help us make a difference for pancreatic cancer research and raise awareness for the need for increased research funding at our first fundraiser, a 5K race, in Hudson, Ohio on Saturday September 21st of 2002. We have partnered up with Johns Hopkins and a group of scientists in the pathology department who are working specifically on pancreatic cancer research. By establishing this fund in Joseph's name, we have the privilege of earmarking the funds.

Pancreatic Cancer has gone too long with out a voice. It is a disease that most call, "The Silent Killer." Many other forms of cancer have made enormous strides, in reducing their mortality rate, through research and the development of early detection and prevention methods. The need for advocacy is crucial in helping make a difference for pancreatic cancer and the tens of thousands of people diagnosed each year (approx. 30,000 this year). Our family's hope is that through our voice and the voice of many we can raise awareness for the need to increase the allocation for research dollars to pancreatic cancer research.

Joseph dedicated his life and career to his family, friends and to the United States Defense Industry. We've attached a biography that was printed in his dedication. In honor of his memory and legacy to his family, friends, and country we felt it imperative to personally make it our mission to fight this disease that robbed his family and friends of a hero, a friend, a father and a husband. Please help us make a difference for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Your contributions, in any form, are appreciated with our heartfelt gratitude.

The Monastra Family


In June 2002, we went to Washington D.C. for a conference on cancer awareness. We had the privilege to meet with both the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) and One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC). The conference lasted four days and within those days we went to several seminars, observed a senate hearing on the request for increased funding for cancer research, and independently met with our congressman and senators.

We received a certificate from the Honorable Johnny Isakson, Member of Congress for Atlanta, Georgia stating that per his request five flags (one for Joseph's wife and one for each of his daughters) was flown over the capital in honor of Joseph Monastra's dedication in life and career to the defense industry of the United States.

Monastra 2002 pictures


We are a proud supporter of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and their talented group of scientists. Donations to date, have gone directly to Dr. Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue who is leading a team of scientists whose focus is on the early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer. The research is focused on gene analysis, and the development of clinical trials.

The researchers at Johns Hopkins have used a technique called “gene expression profiling” to study the genes of pancreas cancers. To date, they have already identified over 100 genes that are specifically “turned on” in the pancreas where a cancer is present. While this is a significant advance in pancreatic cancer research, each one of these genes needs to go through a validation process consisting of a series of experiments to prove that the cancer cells have turned on these genes and not other normal cells within the pancreas. Those genes that are validated as specifically turned on in pancreas cancers are the most promising for the development of vaccines and drugs that will eventually move into clinical trials for patients.

Using this approach, Dr. Iacobuzio-Donahue has identified a specific gene as a potential target for treating pancreas cancer. Her research has so far proven that 99% of pancreas cancer cells do turn on this particular gene. Following this promising breakthrough, Dr. Iacobuzio and her collaborators have begun the work to create a designer drug that will specifically act against pancreas cancer cells that activate the gene. Once this designer drug is synthesized, the study phase will commence to prove that the drug can kill the cancer cells. The study phase will use actual pancreas cancer cells growing in culture or as xenografted tumors (human pancreas cancers growing in laboratory mice). The preliminary data generated from these studies will form the basis for clinical trials in patients battling pancreatic cancer. The timeline for this research is no less than 5 years.

The Joseph C. Monastra Fund has directly supported several publications:

  • E.E. Embuscado, D. Laheru, F. Ricci, K.J. Yun, S. Witzel, A. Seigel, K. Flickinger, M. Hidalgo, G.S. Bova, C. A. Iacobuzio-Donahue. Immortalizing the Complexity of Cancer Metastasis: Genetic Features of Lethal Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Obtained from Rapid Autopsy. Cancer Biol. Ther. 2005 in press. (PMID 15846069)
  • F. Ricci, S.E. Kern, R.H. Hruban, C.A. Iacobuzio-Donahue. Stromal responses to carcinomas of the pancreas: Juxtatumoral gene expression conforms to the infiltrating pattern and not the biologic subtype. Cancer Biol. Ther. 2005 4:52-57. (PMID 15876873)
  • L.S. Nichols, R. Ashfaq, C.A. Iacobuzio-Donahue. Claudin 4 Protein Expression in Primary and Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer: Support for use as a Therapeutic Target. Am J Clin Pathol 2004 121:226-230. (PMID 14983936)
  • W. Xin, K.J. Yun, F. Ricci, W. Qiu, G.H. Su, C.J.Yeo, R.H. Hruban, S.E. Kern, C.A. Iacobuzio-Donahue. MAP2K4/MKK4 Expression in Pancreatic Cancer: Genetic Validation of Immunohistochemistry and Relationship to Disease Course. Clin Cancer Res 2004 10:8516-8520. (PMID 15623633)


The Joseph C. Monastra Fund exemplifies how private donations can honor loved ones and at the same time have a significant impact in the war against pancreatic cancer research.

If you wish to support the Joseph C. Monastra Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research at Johns Hopkins you may do so by sending your tax-deductible contribution payable to The Johns Hopkins University to:

Ralph H. Hruban, M.D.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Department of Pathology
600 N. Wolfe Street
Carnegie 417
Baltimore, MD 21287

Please be sure to specify in the memo field of your check that your donation should be earmarked for the Monastra Fund.

If you have any questions about how you can help support pancreas cancer research, do not hesitate to give us a call: 410-955-9791.

Past Events

2nd Annual Golf Classic   

October 27, 2008 - The Golf Club of Georgia, Alpharetta, GA 30005

The mission of this Foundation is to engage in charitable, educational and scientific activities including funding research, scientific endeavors and other activities directed at the eradication of cancer specifically pancreatic cancer.

Benefiting: The Joseph C. Monastra (JCM) Foundation for PC Research
Contact: Rick Rosemond at 678-888-0243 or email

Download Flyer

1st Annual Golf Classic   

October 29, 2007 - The Golf Club of Georgia, Alpharetta, GA

The mission of this Foundation is to engage in charitable, educational and scientific activities including funding research, scientific endeavors and other activities directed at the eradication of cancer specifically pancreatic cancer.

Benefiting: The Joseph C. Monastra (JCM) Foundation for PC Research
Contact: Rick Rosemond at 678-888-0243 or email

Download Flyer

4th Annual Ride to Make A Difference   

October 15, 2005 - Backdraft, 300 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Suwanee, GA

- Registration: Begins at 11 a.m.
- Cost: $20 (1st 200 registered riders to receive a t-shirt)
- Police Escorted Ride: Begins promptly at 1 p.m. (New route planned – it promises to be beautiful, but not as long as last year's)

Benefiting: The Joseph C. Monastra (JCM) Foundation for PC Research
Contact: Pamela M. Swanson, 404-391-2169

Download Flyer

Refuse to Lose 2005   

"Refuse to Lose: The Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer"
4th Annual 5K Run/1 Mile Walk
August 6, 2005 - Hudson, Ohio

For more information contact 216-623-9933, or email

Download Flyer

1st Annual Motorcycle Ride   

July 16, 2005 - Quaker Steak & Lube, 5935 Canal Road, Valley View, OH

12:30pm to 1:30pm -- Registration

Your $10 donation includes:

  • a commemmorative Pin
  • 10% discount on accessories at State 8 Motorcycle and ATV
  • 10% discount on accessories at Liberty Harley Davidson
  • 10% discount on food purchase at Quaker Steak and Lube


  • Begin at 4:30pm rain or shine
  • Live music from Second Look
  • Eclyptic and Amadeus
  • Raffle prizes include leather jackets, gift cards and accessories

Download Flyer

Refuse to Lose 2004   

"Get Ready to Rumble - Refuse to Lose the Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer" Motorcycle Ride
November 13,2004 - Wild Wings Cafe, on Satellite Blvd., Duluth, GA. (770-945-9090)

- Registration: Begins at 10 a.m.
- Cost: $20 (1st 300 registered riders to receive a t-shirt)
- Breakfast: Provided by Starbucks & Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
- Police Escorted Ride: 12:00 noon (sharp)

Contact: Pamela M. Swanson, 404-391-2169

Download Flyer

Monte Carlo Casino Night 2004   

August 14, 2004 - Polo Golf & Country Club, Cummings, GA

7pm to midnight

Some auction items include:
- Jack Niclaus Autographed "Golden Bear" Golf Bag
- Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick Autographed Helmet
- Diamond Tennis Bracelet and Diamond Necklace - Donated by Chaplin Diamonds
- His & Her Matching Diamond Faced Wittnaeur Watches - Donated by Harlin Diamonds
- LCD Flat Screen TV - Donated by hhgregg

Contact: Pamela M. Swanson, 404-391-2169

3rd Annual Race to Make a Difference   

July 31,2004 - Hudson, OH

2nd Annual Monte Carlo Gala   

May 8, 2004 - Hudson, OH at Hilton Garden Inn

In Memory of Les Dingledine   

February 27,2004 - Riverwoods, IL (Chicago)

- Hors' Dourves, cocktails and raffle
- 40 per person

Discover Financial Services
ESP Pavillion
2500 Lake Cook Road
Riverwoods, IL

Contact Deborah Rawlings for more information 224-405-2469

2nd Annual Ride to Make a Difference   

November 9, 2003 (Rain day: Sunday Nov. 23rd) - Atlanta, GA (Chicago)

- Registration 10-11:30am
-Ride begins at 12 noon (sharp); Ride begins and ends at the Fire House Food & Spirits, Suwanee 678-714-6906

Silent Auction/Live Auction
Raffle Prizes, Vendors
- $20 Donation gets you a t-shirt (first 300 registered riders!)

Bike Show:
Best of Show, Best EVO, Best Pro EVO, Best Paint, Best Custom Built, Best Custom Manufactured
Contact Pamela Swanson for more information 404-391-2169

Download Flyer

2nd Annual Race to Make a Difference   

August 2003 - Hudson, OH

First Annual Monte Carlo Gala & Silent Auction   

June 21, 2003 - Polo Golf and Country Club, Cummings, GA

$65 per person ($75 night of the event)

For more information, contact: Pamela Swanson: 770-889-2682 or Anthony Tortorici: 678-493-0313

First Annual Monte Carlo Gala   

April 5, 2003 - Hudson, OH

In honor of Joseph's 75th birthday on March 30th

First Annual Ride to Make a Difference   

A Motorcycle Bike Ride
November 2, 2002 - Atlanta, GA

Race to Make a Difference   

September 21, 2002 - Hudson, OH

On Saturday, September 21,2002 in Hudson Ohio, the Monastra Family hosted their First Annual Joseph C. Monastra Race to Make A Difference for Pancreatic Cancer Research. The participants had the option to chose from a 5K run or a 1mile walk, with nearly 250 registered participants, and over 30 volunteers. We were honored with guest speakers, such as Hudson's City Manager, Michael Morton, Congressman Tom Sawyer, and Dr. Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue from Johns Hopkins. Their presence alone was a tribute to Joseph and the cause we are helping to champion.

Our sponsors, need mention for without them this event would not have been the success that it was: Ross Products, I.J. Kim Martial Arts, Spectrum Surgical Instruments, Moen Inc., Advanced Health Systems, Inc., Western Reserve Printing, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). All corporate contributions were donated directly to Johns Hopkins University in the Joseph C. Monastra Fund, earmarked for pancreas cancer research.

Participants were from all ages, 5 and younger to 60 and over. The top runner, Tommy Noyes of North Canton Ohio, finished with a time of 16:37. An amazing finish. Two of Joe's grandchildren, Jason and Tyler Saunders finished 1st in their age bracket, beating their own personal records.

The Sponsors and "Day of Race" Donators were amazing. Distallata donated gallons and gallons of water; Clif Bar/Luna Bar donated nutrition bars, with pastries and bagels coming from Brueggers Bagels, Panera, & Krispy Kreme Donuts; Acme, the local grocery store out-did-themselves, supplying tons of fruit and water; CVS donated all the goodie bags and filled them with products; Step2 donated play yard equipment to keep all the children occupied while teenagers from the Hudson High School volunteered to do face painting. One of our major sponsors, I.J. Kim Martial Arts brought their Nationally Recognized Team of Athletes to entertain all with amazing skills, such as, cement block breaking, board breaking, self defense demo, and much more. Another sponsor, Ross Products, the makers of Ensure and Prosure (a new supplemental drink especially designed for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation), came in from Columbus to spend the weekend and set up a display at the event and made themselves available to answer questions and offer advise. It truly was a family event.

D.J.'s - Terry Swanson (son-in-law) and Mike Talbot (friend of family), well let's just say they kept things lively!!!!

We are immensely grateful and blessed beyond any words of gratitude, because what we have discovered, beyond the grasp of this "Silent Killer" we all know as Pancreas Cancer, is a true sense of hope and commitment - from the families championing the cause, to those bright, talented, and energetic doctors and scientists committed to making a difference at Johns Hopkins University. Some day with the continued support and commitment we too will be Racing for the Cure.