Michael Neustadter

A Better World Running – Father’s Day


By: Katie Neustadter DeSalle

My dad loved his family more than anything and he was special in every way! He spent his life helping others and giving back to the community, from his work with numerous charities to serving as chairman of the board of the Atlanticare Health System. He had always been an extremely healthy man who took care of himself; he ate well and worked out in the gym three times per week but in October of 2010, our world turned upside down. 

My dad developed severe knife-like pain in his upper back. His digestive system was off and he had lost weight. My family and I originally thought he lost weight because he was getting ready for my brother’s wedding, but that wasn’t the reason at all.

In just days after the wedding, my dad’s condition worsened. He developed a fever and flu-like symptoms. He went to the hospital for testing, but the doctor could not find anything obviously wrong; however, my dad was persistent. In November, he developed pancreatitis. Doctors were still baffled until he became jaundiced. They determined that his bile duct was blocked. On January 18, 2011, my dad was diagnosed with stage I pancreatic cancer. 

We were informed they caught it early and my dad would be a perfect candidate for the Whipple procedure. Shortly after surgery, my dad developed an infection and became extremely ill. My dad’s tumor markers were rising and further testing revealed that the cancer spread to his liver. He went from being stage I to stage IV overnight. My dad, Michael Neustadter, lost his battle on January 19, 2012, one year and one day after his initial diagnosis. Despite an early diagnosis, a healthy lifestyle and some of the best medical care in the nation, the disease was too much to withstand. He is missed greatly by all who knew him. He will be forever in our hearts.

The Michael J. Neustadter Pancreatic Cancer Fund was created in memory of Michael in recognition of his courageous battle and determination to beat this dreadful disease. This fund seeks to increase the survival rate of pancreatic cancer by raising awareness, funding research, and aiding in the discovery of a cure. He would be proud to know that his name lives on as a catalyst for curing this life-threatening disease.

When you make a donation in support of pancreatic cancer research, you’re helping the Hirshberg Foundation and our researchers get closer to a cure. Funding scientific advances and programs for patients and families helps provide resources today and offers hope for a cancer-free world in the future.

Jennifer Mola