In October 2017, we (Becky and Diane) completed a half marathon in Des Moines. Due to the support and generosity of many family and friends, we were able to raise $2,740 for Project Purple in order to positively impact those whose lives have/or will be turned upside down by pancreatic cancer. In memory of our Dad, we crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with smiles on our faces. Feeling a great sense of accomplishment and aware that we were doing our small part to in hopes of creating a better outcome for so many who face this awful diagnosis.
This year we have set our personal goals slightly higher in terms of distance. On Sunday, October 7th, we will participate in a full marathon in Milwaukee as part of Team Project Purple. Project Purple’s mission is to find a cure for pancreatic cancer and improve the lives of patients through support, hope, and compassion. Project Purple envisions a world that is pancreatic cancer free. We wish to join their fight. Please consider supporting our cause.
As many of you know, this story is extremely personal for us. From the onset of diagnosis in May 2014 to his final days in November 2015, pancreatic cancer stole the most important man in our lives...our Dad. Over the course of almost 18 months we stood alongside Dad as he courageously fought this horribly merciless disease. Dad kept his incredible sense of humor through two unsuccessful surgery attempts, endless chemo and radiation treatments that took their toll in so many ways, and the inability to eat and drink for a cruel amount of time. Dad endured so much. Dad would have went to hell and back (and at times it seemed he did) to have more time with his wife, his children, his beloved grandchildren, and so many others who were near and dear to him. After 18 brief months, pancreatic cancer was just too brutal and took Dad’s life. It is difficult to believe that Dad will have been gone for almost three years by the time we participate in this 26.2 mile run. The words "why him" echo through our minds on a daily basis. There is not a day that goes by where we don't miss him nor quietly shed a tear for our dad and beloved grandpa. As we run, we often look for a sign from above, usually a cardinal...… that Dad supports us on our mission to ensure someone else’s story ends differently than his.
We run for our Dad on October 7th, but we also run for every other person who will be affected by this unforgiving cancer. The statistics for pancreatic cancer are devastating. It is the first in mortality rate for all major cancers and expected to be the #2 killer of cancer-related deaths by 2020. Every 86 seconds someone is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The lifetime risk of pancreatic cancer for both men and women is 1 in 65. The five-year survival rate is just 6%. But, what is the most discouraging to us is the fact that a method for early detection has yet to be discovered.
In 2010, The National Cancer Institute estimated that over 3 billion dollars was donated for cancer research. Only 3% of that money was gifted to pancreatic cancer research. This is disheartening to us... only 3%... to the #2 killer of cancer-related deaths. But, it has inspired us to commit to becoming more involved. We have participated in three PurpleStride walks which brings our large family of aunts, uncles, and cousins together to walk. Last year, we joined Project Purple, who's motto is "Running to Beat Pancreatic Cancer" and ran a 1/2 marathon. This year, on October 7, our "sister team of two” will unite again with hundreds of other Project Purple runners. We will each run motivated by our own personal story, yet we will all be united with one common purpose. Pancreatic cancer is ruthless in its pursuit but so are we in pursuing a cure and earlier detection.
Project Purple’s primary focus is research. Their goal is to support the vital research of doctors in the top pancreatic cancer facilities in the United States who do constant research on this cancer. We were drawn to this focus because we believe that the first and foremost step in increasing the survival rate in this cancer is early detection. Pancreatic cancer is known as the silent killer. Project Purple also seeks to improve the quality of life of those currently battling pancreatic cancer. Project Purple’s vision of a world that is pancreatic cancer free is a vision we share.
By participating as sisters in this run, in memory of our Dad, we hope that someone else’s story has a happier ending. Join us in supporting our cause; please consider making a donation.
We would also like to run for a friend or family member you may have that is either battling pancreatic cancer or who may have lost their life to this merciless cancer. If you feel comfortable sharing a name(s), we would be honored to also 'wear their name' on our back tag.
We graciously thank you for your support, Becky and Diane
Project Purple is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created with the goal of raising awareness and funds to defeat pancreatic cancer.