Third Annual Anthony Hollyoak Golf Tournament raising funds for early detection research

Toronto – June 12, 2024

Pancreatic cancer is on track to become the second deadliest cancer in Canada. Because this devastating cancer is very hard to detect, most people are diagnosed at stage 4 and die within weeks or months.  

“Early detection can mean the difference between life and death,” says Nancy Hollyoak of Toronto, who lost her husband Anthony on March 31, 2022, just 14 months after diagnosis.  “When he was diagnosed, we knew it was a death sentence.” Anthony was a picture of health. He was only 56, exercised, ate well, coached kids’ hockey, played golf frequently. A father of three, he left behind a legacy felt by many. 

In his memory, Nancy and her sister-in-law host the annual Anthony Joseph Hollyoak Memorial Golf Tournament. This year marks the third tournament, taking place Friday, June 21, 2024 at The Briars Golf Club just north of Toronto. In the first two years, the tournament raised $125,000 for pancreatic cancer research into early detection and screening.

Early Detection Improves Outcomes

“There is still very little known about the causes of pancreatic cancer and there are currently no effective screening tests for the disease, so knowing the signs and symptoms is one of the best ways to help find the disease at earlier, more treatable stages,” says Beth Ruby, Director of Marketing and Communications for Pancreatic Cancer Canada. “We’re dedicated to improving survival rates by  increasing awareness  and raising funds for innovative research and support services.” 

While there is no screening test like for breast and colon cancers, researchers are actively working to develop tools and techniques to find the disease earlier. In the meantime, Canadians should be vigilant for early signs and symptoms, including:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen or back
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss
  • Late onset diabetes
  • Nausea and vomiting/digestive issues
  • Fatigue 

“I remember when Anthony came downstairs one day and his skin was yellow,” Nancy recalls. “That’s when I knew something was wrong. Anthony went to the doctor and within six weeks he was diagnosed. He had annual checkups and if there were a screening like there is for colon cancer, maybe he would still be with us.” 

Three years after his death, Nancy says, “the people at Pancreatic Cancer Canada have been instrumental in providing our family with knowledgeable, emotional and technical support in planning and running a wonderfully fun and successful fundraising tournament for Anthony’s family and friends with proceeds going directly to PCC.  Their support has been invaluable and we cannot thank them enough. They started off as strangers and have quickly become part of our family.” Donations can be made at 

In 2024, an estimated 7,100 Canadians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and 6,100 will die from it. The 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only 10 per cent. Alarmingly, emerging trends show that one of the highest rates of increased incidence is among women under the age of 55. 

About Pancreatic Cancer Canada

Pancreatic Cancer Canada is a vibrant, progressive organization taking on the world’s toughest cancer with the ultimate goal to save more lives. We are committed to raising the survival rate through investments in innovative research and increased awareness of the disease among the general public and healthcare professionals, while ensuring patients and their families have access to the specialized care and support they need at every stage.  Visit Pancreatic Cancer Canada for more details. Follow PCC on Instragram and Facebook.  

This media release was created by post-graduate public relations students at Centennial College for a course called Storyworks. Pancreatic Cancer Canada is partnering with the School of Media, Communication and Arts to give students real client experiential learning while raising awareness for PCC’s work and initiatives.