Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pancreatic cancer survivor invites Tampa Bay to walk for a cure

Robb Lamont, a pancreatic cancer survivor, is with wife Lori and their sons Ryan and John at the 2012 PurpleStride walk.

Courtesy of the Lamont family

Robb Lamont, a pancreatic cancer survivor, is with wife Lori and their sons Ryan and John at the 2012 PurpleStride walk.

ST. PETERSBURG — Robb Lamont plans to spend Saturday morning taking a walk along the downtown waterfront with a thousand or so friends, all clad in purple.

Fundraising walks are common this time of year in Florida. Most include walkers whose hats or T-shirts bear the word "survivor.''

But at Saturday's PurpleStride Tampa Bay, the local Pancreatic Cancer Action Network walk, Lamont, 40, will be among the few enjoying that distinction.

The father of two young boys was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago. Most patients die within the first year of diagnosis; only 6 percent live five years.

"I was lucky," said Lamont, an attorney who lives with his family in South Tampa. "I got a stomach ache and it was found at an early stage."

But few people develop symptoms early enough to make effective treatment possible. Lamont hopes fundraising efforts will change that by supporting research into pancreatic cancer, the nation's fourth leading cause of cancer death. He is participating in a clinical trial at Tampa General Hospital testing a new therapy; he is the only one of the 15 who entered the trial when he did who still is involved; the rest either died or had to be taken off the drug.

Lamont talked with the Times this week about his diagnosis and his hope for the future.

Tell me more about how you knew something was wrong.

I woke up on July 4, 2009, with a stomachache that never seemed to stop. My wife said I should go to the hospital and be checked out. They did lots of tests but didn't find anything. I went to more doctors who assured me I was too young and healthy for it to be cancer, but my pancreas wasn't functioning normally. I was scheduled for surgery in late September to correct the suspected problem. That's when my surgeon found the tumor — about the size of a walnut — at the neck of my pancreas.

How did you react to that news?

We were pretty shocked. The news was alarming. I was young, active and fit, not a smoker, had no family history of pancreatic cancer and only one distant relative who ever had cancer.

What treatment did you choose?

I gathered my extended family and we decided I would remain in Tampa and receive standard chemotherapy plus an experimental drug. Then in April 2011, I had a recurrence, so they put me on a different chemo for five months, then radiation. In January 2012, all my tests came back negative for cancer, same for 2013, which is amazing and lucky.

What was your life like during treatment?

Except for the six weeks I was out for my surgery, I worked full time all through treatment. I had to take a couple days off with some of the chemo, but I kept going to work. I also kept doing as much as possible with my family and kids. My wife tells me to slow down. If anything, I think this has made me do more.

What's your hope for Saturday's walk?

Raising research dollars is what drives me. We need to find a test so we can detect this cancer early and improve survival. And, of course, I hope we find a cure.

I hope the next young dad who wakes up with a stomachache and gets this diagnosis just needs a simple injection of something and doesn't have to go through all I've been through to get well.

If you go

PurpleStride Tampa Bay is Saturday, Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Drive SE, St. Petersburg. Registration opens at 7 a.m. Go to for details.

Pancreatic cancer survivor invites Tampa Bay to walk for a cure 10/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.