My mom and I volunteer with a group of amazing people…PanCan. PanCan stands for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The non-profit organization raises funds for Pancreatic Cancer and for the last four years we have put on a bowl-a-thon. The purpose of our event is to raise awareness about the horrific statistics of pancreatic cancer so that we can get the much-needed funding for research. Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S. and has the highest fatality rate of all cancers – 99%! With no early detection methods, symptoms appear too late and the average life expectancy for a patient with a metastatic disease diagnosis is just three to six months. Despite these statistics, the research spending per pancreatic cancer patient is the lowest of any leading cancer.
The reason why it is so close to my heart is that I lost my grandmother Sharon four years ago this August. She lived courageously with pancreatic cancer for fifteen months. She was unable to have a very important surgery called “the wipple” that can add on many years of living to a pancreatic victim. Unfortunately she was not one of these candidates. Even though we lost her, she was a true miracle. People look at us funny when we say that but when you are sitting in front of an oncologist that literally says, “go home and get your affairs together you have weeks to live”…well she showed him. In fifteen months she experienced this… a trip to Vegas, a grandson was born, the most special Christmas a family could have, a grandson graduated from high school and not only a celebration for achievements but for life.
So last weekend we honored survivors and remembered our loved ones we have lost. I have to share this with you though… Shelia- she is a 9 year pancreatic cancer survivor who gave my grandma hope that she to could survive. Janice- is a 5 year survivor and our event coordinator/queen bee. Last but not least Ginny- a 6 year survivor who is a quiet inspiration with an amazing smile. These ladies are what I call hero’s women to look up too. They celebrate life so much that they haven given me my faith back that we can beat this disease. My mom says all the time that we do this because we have to make people aware and raise money so nobody has to lose someone they love to this awful disease. I encourage you to research pancreatic cancer read about the symptoms so you can help educate your friends and family.
Our faithful leader Janice emailed her team last week to let us know that we raised $10,000 dollars this year! That in it self is a small step to beat out this mean disease. As my mom said at the bowl-a-thon “we are here today to STRIKE out Pancreatic Cancer”! Hopefully one day we can.
P.S. it is an amazing feeling when we find people that help us heal. Please check out http://www.pancan.org/!