Community honors pancreatic cancer victim

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COLUMBIA - The first annual Frank Classens Memorial Golf Tournament and Fundraiser was held Saturday morning to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.

Tammy Classens organized the golf tournament in honor of her husband, Frank Classens, who died of stage four pancreatic cancer in October. 

"He was a good golfer. This is the best way we could honor him," Tammy Classens said. "He was a real generous man. He was a runner and had great health, but it went downhill from there."

Frank Classen's daughter, Amber Chick, said her father cared about everybody.

"He was just the person you could go to for anything," Chick said. "He didn't care who you were, he was going to help you out."

Tammy Classens said most of the funds raised through donations, raffle tickets and golf fees will go to Missouri Veterans Cemetery where her husband is buried; he  served in the Air Force for 21 years.

A bigger portion of the money will go toward fighting the disease that killed Frank Classens. 

"We need more awareness and research for pancreatic cancer," Tammy Classens said. 

According to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, pancreatic cancer will be the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. by 2020. There is a 9% chance of survival with a five year survival rate. 

Tammy Classens and Chick said 23 teams signed up this year for the golf tournament. They are planning to hold the event each year and urge people to donate to pancreatic cancer research.