Rachel Sheinkop

“My mom was the best – she was a very loving, caring person and always put family first,” said Rachel Sheinkop with a smile. “And we lost her much too soon.”

Fifteen years ago, at age 68, Rachel’s mom Levita “Cissy” Zucker as diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. Levita had suffered from chronic back pain and went to multiple doctors who continuously attributed it to other medical conditions, like osteoporosis, reflux, or menopause. 

“She was probably misdiagnosed for years because not every healthcare professional knows the early signs of Pancreatic Cancer. I feel like we could have saved her if it had been caught early.”

When Rachel first learned about her mother’s diagnosis, she knew little about Pancreatic Cancer and her Google searches yielded scary statistics and limited resources. “I had so many questions and there was so much unknown.” Despite the very short survival rate at that time, Rachel’s mom courageously battled for 2.5 years, which doctors credited to her healthy lifestyle and ability to participate in a clinical trial. “Although I’m grateful that we had even that much time with her, it wasn’t enough.”


Giving Back by Getting Involved 

Following her mother’s death, Rachel was invited by her friend Jim Rolfe to join Rolfe Foundation’s Board of Directors. “I didn’t want anyone else to feel the way I did when my mom was diagnosed and thought that if I could change that just a little bit for others, I had to help.” Since that time Rachel has chaired the Events and Board Development Committees, served as President of the Board, and currently leads Harriet’s Helping Hands: Rolfe Foundation’s Patient & Family Support Program as the Community Partnerships and Patient Advocate.

One of the things that Rachel feels makes Rolfe Foundation so unique is its personal attention to each patient and family throughout their journey—and beyond. As soon as she learns about a family facing a Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis, Rachel picks up the phone and a friendship begins. Connecting patients and caregivers to doctors and resources, while also providing guidance and support, allows families to make decisions quickly and confidently. 

“We do whatever we can to help, even if it means just holding their hand. I’ve been there and it’s very important to me that these families don’t feel lost and scared the way I did when my mom was diagnosed.”


The Power of Team Purple 

In addition to her many roles at Rolfe, Rachel is also a Team Captain of Team Purple for Rolfe’s DASH for Detection, an annual family-friendly 5K run/walk held in Chicago to raise awareness and funds for early detection research. “I’m very proud of Team Purple – we’ve been with DASH from its inception and have gotten bigger each year.  I’m so appreciative of the friends and family who come out and support us.” The team includes virtual members such as her niece in Arizona and Dad, who works out at the gym to show his support.  

“There’s something very special about the DASH—we’re there to celebrate life, whether it’s the memory of someone we’ve lost or the warriors and caregivers who are battling Pancreatic Cancer.”

DASH is also where Rachel has a chance to meet many of the patients and families for the first time. “Seeing the smiles on the faces of people that I’ve spent hours talking to on the phone is amazing. There’s something very special about the DASH – we’re there to celebrate life, whether it’s the memory of someone we’ve lost or the warriors and caregivers who are battling Pancreatic Cancer.”

Rachel is excited to lead her team and cheer on the Rolfe community at the 2024 DASH for Detection on June 8 at Montrose Harbor. “I hope that everybody comes out to experience DASH at least once. There’s something remarkable about the energy. It’s like no other feeling, and I’m grateful for this community.”

To learn more about Team Purple or support their efforts, visit the Team Purple Page.
To learn more about DASH for Detection or to register, visit 


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Rachel Sheinkop with her husband, Michael Sheinkop