Fundraising Tip: Tell Your Story & the Ronnie Hirshberg Story

Tell Your Story!

The most effective way to fundraise is to tell others about your story.  Why are you fundraising?  How has pancreatic cancer affected your life?  Why should people make a contribution to you instead of going to see a movie?  You could even make a movie telling them why you need their help, just like Agi did below!

Below Agi Hirshberg writes about her late husband, Ronald S. Hirshberg, the man she loved and the man in whose memory the Foundation was created.

How do I describe a gentle giant of a man who raced through life at jet speed taking family, friends, and business associates along on his magical journey?

Ronald S. Hirshberg was born on March 31, 1943, in Brooklyn, NY, to Rita and Jerry Hirshberg. By the time he was 12, Ron averaged two to three jobs per day — newspaper delivery boy, gardener, lifeguard, cabin boy, busboy, car attendant. At 16, he was running the family toy store.

Although Ron attended Boston University, it was a part-time job at Filene’s that became the determining factor for the career path ahead. Within two years he became a buyer, and for the next 20 years Ron built, created and otherwise set trends in the New England retail arena. Ron’s talent for merchandising, buying, and planning was legendary; his vision for trends extraordinary. Not surprisingly, trade papers frequently referred to him as a “retail genius.”

Ron and I met in 1986 by chance — my father was coaching Ron’s son’s soccer team. Three days later we set our wedding date. Three months later our two families became one. Within our first year together, we founded a company named Agron and became the exclusive licensee for Adidas accessories — ultimately distributing caps, sports bags and knit items worldwide through offices in the UK, Spain, Taiwan, Germany, and the United States.

While Ron’s career achievements were phenomenal, to him work was primarily a way to make money to allow for having fun. His son Jon was instrumental in Ron’s desire to prove that men over 40 could compete in an international sporting event. Offshore racing was what Ron selected, and he went on to win numerous races in his 38-ft. Scarab, Revenge 286. In 1985, his team was ranked third in the world, having achieved speeds of 90 mph.

Ron also had a genuine passion for Harley Davidsons, and was in many groups that loved to “eat and ride,” as he liked to say. His love of bikes prompted him to become a one-time publisher, authoring The Iron Stallion, a book about men from all walks of life who ride motorcycles. Ron often would remark, “He who has the most toys wins,” and his business success enabled him to have a lot of exciting, “loud, fast and on the edge” toys. He snow skied gracefully and competitively, danced with exceptional rhythm, told jokes with the ease of a professional comic, and sang with gusto to Pavarotti.
One to cry easily over silly sentimental things, Ron was never ashamed of his tears. He was demanding of those he loved, expecting them to be the very best they could and unwilling to tolerate anything less. Every day, he believed, should be lived to the fullest — no opportunity passed — no “I should haves.” We all loved to hear Ron laugh, watching as he held his belly, tears in his eyes. None of us could stop laughing either, seeing how he was enjoying himself so.

Ron was 54 years old when he died of pancreatic cancer. He fought the unknown enemy for eight months and seven days.

In life, Ron was a born winner. No obstacle made him retreat, no challenge too difficult. A problem was an invitation; “no” meant “maybe,” and “maybe” meant, “yes.” It is with this strong determination that he battled cancer, until the day his life ended.”

The Foundation will continue Ron’s fight to win the battle against pancreatic cancer. We will win for the life he loved, the people he loved, and for our cancer families who deserve answers.


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