Southfield (CBS 62) – If there’s one thing you can say about Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, it’s that he knows how to make lemonade out of the lemons life throws his way.

That includes an upcoming fundraiser for pancreatic cancer being held next Wednesday night he is involved with along with Karmanos Cancer Institute for Pancreatic Cancer Research and McLaren Oakland Foundation Cancer Resource Fund for Pancreatic Cancer. It will raise money to help find a cure.

The 80-year-old county executive was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in April.

Michigan Matters: L. Brooks Patterson on the Fight for His Life

The evening event includes food, drinks, music, and comments from Dr. Phillip Philip who is Patterson’s doctor. Philip, a leading expert in the disease, was also the doctor who treated Aretha Franklin who died of the disease after battling it for years.

“When Dr. Philip diagnosed me with pancreatic cancer, he told me that attitude is 90 percent of the battle in fighting the disease,” said Patterson. “Just like attitude, money is 90 percent of the battle when researching a cure. Every dollar raised in our pancreatic cancer fundraiser will get us a step closer to finding that cure.”

Forrest Milzow, a longtime friend of Patterson’s and owner of Deer Lake Athletic Club in Clarkston, is hosting the event.

“Hosting this was a no-brainer. Not only because Brooks is a good friend, but also because it will have a tremendous benefit for pancreatic cancer patients and their families. I should know, I lost my wife to pancreatic cancer,” said Milzow.

Patterson has a track record of starting events to help a cause inspired by personal heartbreak.

When his best friend and his son died in a plane crash, he began the Rainbow Connection to commemorate them through an annual event to raise money to help ill children. It started as a golf outing with a few dozen friends and has grown to raise millions for thousands of children across the state.

When Patterson’s 28-year-old son, Brooksie, died in a snowmobile accident, the half marathon Patterson was talking about launching at that time was named after him.

“Brooksie told me he wanted to run in that first race,” said Patterson.

The Brooksie Way, held each fall, has grown with thousands participating and monies raised given as grants to organizations helping people maintain their health.

Laura Clark Brown, of Successful Equity Management, is also involved with the upcoming pancreatic fundraiser and said money raised at Wednesday’s event will go to pancreatic cancer research.

(For information: 248-625-4700 ext.1 or adoyen@successfulequity.net)

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