Our Story

The Rolfe Foundation began in 1999, when the friends and family of Michael Rolfe, moved by his brief and brave battle, resolved to ensure that future diagnoses of pancreatic cancer wouldn’t be the grim sentence that Michael’s was. What began in a Highland Park living room as a small, community effort has grown into a formidable institution dedicated to eradicating pancreatic cancer, and supporting patients and their loves ones. Today, the Rolfe Pancreatic Foundation works towards accomplishing its goals powered by an executive staff, an engaged and energetic board, and the passion of our numerous supporters.


Remembering Michael Rolfe:

Michael Rolfe was known for his infectious smile, his gentle and sharp wit, and his passion for supporting and mentoring friends and family. He was a ravenous reader who graduated from the University of Michigan before serving in the Navy, and eventually settling in Deerfield, IL, where he raised his family. 

Like many people who died from pancreatic cancer, he went too young – and much too quickly.

His friends and family were resolved that even though he had passed, he should never be gone. They joined together, created a foundation in his name, and dedicated it towards finding a method of early detection.

He fell ill in 1998, initially afflicted by a mild heart attack. Though a full recovery was projected, instead he began suffering from a series of ailments, which left his physicians at a loss. It was in March of 1999 that his pancreatic cancer was discovered, and two weeks later – he had died.

His friends and family, however, were resolved that even though he had passed, he should never be gone. They joined together, created a foundation in his name, and dedicated it towards finding a method of early detection that could someday spare others the fate that befallen Michael.

The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation marches on, honoring not only Michael’s memory, but the memory of all the family and friends its members and supporters have lost to this horrible disease. 

It is a proud legacy – one that we strive to live up to.