April 17, 2013
Staff Community Service Award
Mary Pettinaro, systems administrator, Office of Graduate Medical Education
Mary Pettinaro turned a personal loss into something positive and inspiring.
After losing her brother, Michael, to pancreatic cancer in 2009, she met Judy Rockafellow and Lynn Platt on the Johns Hopkins pancreatic cancer discussion board. All three had lost loved ones to the disease. Together they founded the Step It Up to Cure Pancreatic Cancer organization, which hosts a yearly 5K indoor walk in November to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.
The walk began in 2010 and over three years has raised nearly $155,000 to support pancreatic cancer research at the Wilmot Cancer Center. The Step It Up to Cure Pancreatic Cancer organization is now known as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Association of Western New York, which administers the walk and aims to create awareness, raise funds, and advocate for those affected by pancreatic cancer. Pettinaro has taken on several leadership roles within the organization to help ensure its success.
“Mary has dedicated many hours of her time and passion by helping to fill the need for local cancer research funding and awareness for pancreatic cancer,” wrote Scott Verrenti and Karen Humbert from University Advancement in a letter supporting Pettinaro’s nomination.