Dennys Class Team

Team “Denny’s Class” Runs to Support Pancreatic Cancer Research

On Saturday, October 9th, Team “Denny’s Class” took to the streets of Hartford, Connecticut in the ING Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay, 5K and Kids K, all to support the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, more specifically pancreatic research and treatment at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Cancer Center. Team “Denny’s Class” was formed by Mark, Leslee and Heidi Ruggeri in honor of Denyse Ruggeri after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

All participants agreed that it was a beautiful day and more important – they were running for a great cause. Participants included 8 marathoners, 8 half marathoners, 3 team relays, 33 5’Kers, and 4 Kids K participants. For Mark and Leslee, each mile of their marathon run represented one week for the 26 weeks that Denyse has been battling this terrible disease.

“Denny’s Class” has already raised almost $25,000 to help fund a research study at the UMass Memorial Cancer Center. Denyse’s physician, Dr. Bilal Piperdi, a member of the National Pancreatic Cancer Research Team, along with his colleagues at the UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Cancer Center are putting UMass on the map as a leader in pancreatic cancer research and treatment. Pancreatic cancer patients will be able to enroll in a new clinical trial and receive the same cutting edge treatment and care at UMass Memorial that Denyse has been fortunate to receive. The ongoing results found through the clinical study that Denyse is involved in provide direction for the new trial and insight for one of the most difficult cancers to treat. This collaborative, comprehensive program is not available for pancreatic cancer patients anywhere else in the northeast – and is only being done in five other hospitals in the country.

Contributions to “Denny’s Class” and the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance can be made online at One hundred percent of the donation goes to pancreatic cancer research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. You can learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance at

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