Helping students affected by pancreatic cancer afford school tuition.

About Pancreatic Cancer

The pancreas is a gland organ in the digestive and endocrine systems. It is about six inches long and sits behind the stomach, small intestine, and liver. Although it is small, the pancreas produces several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin that are released as food enters the stomach. It is key in the digestion process, secreting pancreatic juice containing enzymes that assist the absorption of nutrients and the digestion in the small intestine. These enzymes help to further break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In 2012, an estimated 43,920 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States, and approximately 37,390 will die from the disease.

There are two main types of pancreatic cancer. The first, called exocrine tumors, makes up 95% of pancreatic cancer diagnoses. They are called exocrine tumors because the abnormal cells that turn into cancer begin in the exocrine cells that aid in pancreatic digestion. Within this broad type, there are nine different types of exocrine tumors. 90% of exocrine tumors are pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which begins in the lining of the pancreatic duct.

The second type of pancreatic cancer that accounts for 5% of pancreatic cancer diagnoses is called neuroendocrine tumors. This occurs due to abnormal growth in the hormone-producing cells called islet cells. Islet cells are responsible for secreting the hormones insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin into the bloodstream. Therefore, this affects the level of sugar in the blood. These tumors also grow more slowly than the exocrine tumors and may be malignant or benign. There are two types of neuroendocrine tumors: functional (hormone producing) or nonfunctional (not hormone producing). Most functional neuroendocrine tumors are not cancerous. However, 90 percent of nonfunctional tumors are cancerous.

A lot is still unknown about this deadly disease. Currently there are no early detection tests for pancreatic cancer. The average life expectancy after diagnosis with metastatic disease is just five to seven months.


Symptoms of pancreatic cancer are typically vague and not alarming prior to diagnosis. Symptoms may include back and/or abdominal pain, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or eyes, loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool, or diabetes.

Risk factors may include a family history of the disease, age, chronic or hereditary pancreatisis, smoking, obesity, and recent-onset diabetes.

This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a doctor if you are feeling ill. TO TOP

What We Do

JEH encourages all young people to continue their education. We want to help eligible students who have been financially affected, directly or indirectly, by pancreatic cancer. Eligible students can be seeking tuition assistance for either high school, college, or a combination of the two. Selection is based on financial need, educational merit and life situation. The scholarship will be awarded based on the decision of a panel organized by the JEH Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. The scholarship award is determined by the amount JEH is able to raise in the given calendar year.

The JEH Foundation was founded in memory of Joe Hasten. Joe was born in Chicago in 1952 and received his bachelor of arts in history from Fairfield University and his MBA from Northwestern University. He launched his banking career at American National Bank in 1974 and then worked for Standard Chartered in Chicago, New York, London, Hong Kong, Seoul and Jakarta. He went on to become vice chairman of US Bancorp. His last position was one of giving back to the community, where he served as the CEO of ShoreBank in Chicago.

On June 1, 2011 Joe was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Joe lost his battle with this disease on November 1, 2011.



The primary purpose of the JEH Foundation is to provide financial assistance for deserving incoming students whose ability to afford a college education has been impacted by pancreatic cancer. The awarded scholar must have goals for further education and selection will be based on financial need, educational merit and life situation. All students who meet the above qualifications are encouraged to apply.

Important Scholarship Dates:

Download the application here. Please email completed applications to


Past Recipients

Riley and Gia Poppel

Riley and Gia Poppel, 2012

In 2012, as the board was deciding in which pancreatic cancer charity to donate the money raised in our inaugural year, we discovered more devastating news. A family friend, Peggy Marino Poppel, was diagnosed and died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 49, all within a matter of weeks. Peggy left behind a loving husband, Charlie and two young children, Riley and Gia. Losing their wife and mother not only left the family heartbroken, but also with high medical bills and the lost income of a parent to support the family. In lieu of flowers, the family had asked loved ones to donate to the children’s college funds. JEH donated $4,500 to the college scholarship funds for each child. Riley graduated from high school in May of 2015 and will attend Illinois State University to pursue a career in business.

After hearing more stories like the Poppel’s, the mission of the JEH Foundation changed to not only raise awareness for pancreatic cancer and to donate money to research but also to support scholarships for students who have lost a primary caregiver to this horrible disease.

Riley and Gia Poppel

Leighane Hall, 2014

Leighane’s mother died after battling pancreatic cancer. Despite this tragedy, Leighane never gave up on her dreams of becoming a pilot at Emory-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. With the help of JEH, Leighane was able to complete her commercial pilot training and is pursuing a career with a private jet company as she completes her aviation degree.

Riley and Gia Poppel

Natalie Sheppard, 2014

Natalie is a gifted performer and singer. Her dream was to attend a liberal arts college where she could train to become an opera singer. JEH provided her with a scholarship so that she could attend the Cleveland Institute of Music for her first semester freshman year. Because of this experience, she will tour Europe in the upcoming months and plans to return to Palm Beach Atlantic University after the tour to continue her education and training.

Riley and Gia Poppel

Moyosore Akintunde, 2015

Moyo blew us away with her academic achievements and active involvement in extracurricular activities. Losing her father to pancreatic cancer has made her work even harder to accomplish her goals. She will complete her Biomedical Sciences major from the University of Georgia in May of 2016. JEH was able to help pay for her last year of undergraduate school so she can focus on studying for the MCAT and medical school applications. She plans on becoming a pediatrician.

Riley and Gia Poppel

Hannah Weinman, 2015

Hannah’s mother was an assistant principal at the elementary and high school Hannah attended. The importance of education was something Hannah’s mother emphasized. During Hannah’s first year at the University of Florida, her mother was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and passed away one month later. Knowing how important education was to her mother, Hannah maintained a strong GPA in her hopes of being accepted to graduate school to study pediatric audiology.

Jessica Akintunde, 2016

Jessica received $9,000 to attend University of Georgia in Athens, GA. This money rounded out Jessica’s other scholarships and she is attending UGA this year for free. We are so happy to contribute towards Jessica’s tuition. She was a successful high school student academically and athletically. In track, she placed 7th in Georgia’s state competition in the 400m and she ranked 8th in her graduating class. Jessica plans to major in Political Science with a minor in African-American studies, an homage to her father who loved history and emphasized the importance of education. Jessica and, past scholarship recipient, Moyosore’s father passed away from pancreatic cancer when the sisters were in elementary school.

Steven Burdge, 2016

Hayden received $10,000 to attend The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Hayden is a standout both academically and in his extra-curricular activities as part of the Buckeye Pop A Capella, Harmonics, and Upbeat musical groups. He also participated in musicals while attending high school and was cast as the male lead for two separate years. Hayden lost his dad last year during the spring of his junior year to pancreatic cancer. During Hayden’s senior year, he took college courses at Akron University to be closer to his mother, making a potentially dire final high school year into a productive one. Hayden plans to put as much work ethic into college as he did in high school. We are happy to able to help him.

Hayden Ferencz, 2016

Steven received $5,000 to attend Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, MO. As a middle schooler, Steven was a part of the National Junior Honor Society and Scholastic Bowl. He was also on the football, wrestling and baseball teams. Even with all of those activities, he spends his spare time volunteering at the local animal shelter and the food pantry. Steven hopes to play Division I football or baseball and we hope attending Rockhurst will help him do so. More importantly, he is interested in the rigorous academic curriculum at Rockhurst and hopes to be an orthopedic surgeon one day. Steven’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013 at age 30. He had the whipple surgery but doctors found cancer again in his spine in 2014. Steven’s dad wants him to attend Rockhurst because “if something happens to him he knows Rockhurst will continue to teach [him] how to be a man. Their motto is ‘men for others’.”


Contact Us

JEH Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer

27 N. Wacker, Suite #120, Chicago, IL 60606 | 312-505-1457

Follow us on Twitter at @JEHFoundation and like the JEH Foundation on Facebook.

Become a Board Member

Board of Directors

  • Jane Hasten
  • Elizabeth Hasten Miller
  • Charles Miller
  • Connell Hasten
  • Will Hasten

Board Members

  • Emily Bessert
  • Erin Doyle
  • Jared Hasten
  • Shelby Hasten
  • Kathryn O’Brien
  • Caroline O’Connell
  • Tom Reynolds

Advisory Board Members

  • Barbara McLaverty, RN, BSN, MS
  • Carrie Peterson, RN
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