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NASHVILLE, TN. (February 7, 2011) – A private reception hosted by country music legend Larry Gatlin will pay tribute to the life and memory of music executive Merlin Littlefield, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2008.  Lisa Niemi Swayze, who lost her husband Patrick to pancreatic cancer in 2009, will be a special guest speaker. The fundraising event, which takes place at 5 pm on February 24th at ASCAP, will raise funds for the Merlin Littlefield Pancreatic Cancer Memorial Fund benefitting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  
“I am honored to have Larry Gatlin bringing together members of the Nashville community and music industry to pay tribute to my husband,” stated Eileen Littlefield. “Nashville is known for its philanthropic nature and I hope people will join me and help make a difference in the fight against pancreatic cancer so we can know, fight and end this devastating disease.”
In addition to Merlin Littlefield, pancreatic cancer has claimed the lives of other members of the country music world including Charlie Louvin, who passed away just last month, Buddy Killen, Hank Cochran, Alan Webb, Edward Gaylord, Felice Bryant and Joe Carter.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is the only one of the top ten causes of cancer death with a five-year survival rate in the single digits. In 2010, over 43,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and nearly 37,000 died. There are no early detection methods and few effective treatment options. Despite the statistics, a mere 2 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s annual cancer research funding is dedicated to pancreatic cancer.
Funds raised in memory of Merlin will support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s mission to advance research, support patients and create hope.  The organization is committed to doubling the pancreatic cancer survival rate by 2020 by doubling its efforts to raise awareness, support patients and intensify advocacy for a national research strategy dedicated to finding a cure. To learn more about the organization, visit


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