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New Jersey

Thank you for visiting the New Jersey Chapter page, and welcome to our community of volunteers dedicated to the support of patients with pancreatic disease. We invite you to join us at one or more of our local events in support of this cause. Please see below for upcoming and recent activities in your area!

If you would like to become more involved and volunteer in your state, please contact your Chapter Chair (information below).

Chapter Chair
Patricia Espuga
Medical Director
Roy Ligresti, MD


Past Events

Party for a Cure! 
Date: Sunday, September 15, 2019
Time: 5:30 – 9:30 PM
Location: Biagio’s
299 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ 07652







Party for a Cure! 

Date: June 10, 2018
Time: 5:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: Macaluso’s
55 4th Ave, Hawthorne, NJ 07506

For ticket and sponsorship information, please CLICK HERE!


Photo Gallery of Events

Party for a Cure 2019



Courage Award Recipients (left to right): Natalie Slide, Ryan Espuga, and Rajkumaran Dhanasekaran

Natalie Slide: With reserve and grace, Natalie embraced hope over fear and trusted her instincts to be free of Chronic Pancreatitis. After ten slow-motion childhood years of doctors, hospitals, specialists, and procedures, hope turned into reality, backed by modern technology and science. With purpose and confidence, on April 1st of this year, at the young age of 18, Natalie underwent a Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autotransplantation (TPIAT) at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. In her case, this high-risk surgery was completely robotic. The National Pancreas Foundation’s excellent website provided the accreditation leading to such a positive and rewarding result.
In her recovery, Natalie exhibits the very self-discipline and drive that pulled her through the duration of her extraordinary pain during high school. While there, her accomplishments are many- a musician, playing saxophone in her High School Symphonic Band, with a performance at Carnegie Hall – her Photography was selected for two regional Art Exhibitions- organized the school’s National Walk-Out Day, Committee to End Gun Violence in Schools – Lacrosse Team – Volunteer at Abington Memorial Hospital. Nominated by her school counselor, Natalie was awarded the Alan Bell Memorial Award, presented to a senior who has faced adversity, grown from the hardship, and consequently chooses to make a significant difference in the life of another. Life is good! Awarded a Presidential Scholarship and a Nursing Scholarship, Natalie is a freshman at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, pursuing a B.S. in Nursing. Reaching into her own experiences with health care, her wish is to be a pediatric nurse and provide the best care possible for mind and body and to inspire others.

Ryan Espuga: Ryan is a 23-year-old studying physics and earning a secondary science teaching certificate at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Before departing his home state of New Jersey for college in 2014, he was hospitalized for acute attacks of pancreatitis. The immediate response from his doctors was to remove the gallbladder, despite there not being any observable evidence of gallstones. Ryan continued to be hospitalized during his first semester and needed to return home to receive the next perceived medical step of getting pancreatic stenting and a sphincterotomy through multiple endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedures. This seemed to work and Ryan was able to create a healthy and fit life at college. But in 2017, these acute flairs returned with a stronger intensity and a higher frequency. His life degraded into regular and oftentimes multiple hospital stays each month. After many unsuccessful attempts of treating this recurrent condition and chronic pain entering his everyday life, his mother seeked alternate options with large medical research institutions. 

After various testing and a consultation with Johns Hopkins, he became a candidate for a total pancreatectomy with an islet autotransplant with minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. His family, medical care team at Hopkins, and he decided it was the most viable option of regaining a full life without pain or progression into pancreatic cancer. After 10 hours of surgery and multiple months of recovery, Ryan is now pain free and living a better life than he could ever imagine. This was the toughest thing he has undergone in his life but he would do it again a million times for the life it allowed him to live again. He now strives in helping others through this surgery in whatever ways possible. In addition, he lives everyday with an unending gratitude for the life he lives compared to what it could have been.

Rajkumaran Dhanasekaran: Raj was born and raised in Chennai, India. He has been living in the US for the last 10 years and in the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia area for the last 3 years. Raj is a Software Engineer by profession, the job which got him to the US. He is currently working on a global deployment of an ERP system working with people from different countries.

He was diagnosed with pancreatitis back in 2008 but his unrelenting attitude to fight the obstacles that comes his way has kept him going. He had consulted numerous doctors within the US and India before getting this surgery done. He would really like to bring about a change in the awareness of this disease. He had his total pancreatectomy with an islet autotransplant (TPIAT) surgery early this year and is determined to improve and fight the challenges of the surgery. All his family and friends provided excellent support during this uncertain period. In his free time he would like to travel and he is trying his hand at photography.  He also hangs out with his friends playing tennis or watching sports.


Party for a Cure 2016


NPF Centers

NPF Centers focus on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatitis by treating the “whole patient” with a focus on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life. To view more information on the criteria to be an approved NPF Center, please click here.

Treatment Centers located in this state are:

Hackensack University Medical Center/ John Theurer Cancer Center
30 Prospect Avenue
Hackensack, NJ 07601



HackensackUMC Advances a New Approach to Treating Pre-Malignant Tumors in the Pancreas.
The Paramus Post. December 4, 2015