Many of us wondered if we should assemble an ARC for the annual Purple Stride 5K to raise awareness and funding for research for pancreatic cancer. It had been raining steadily for several days and the forecast did not show any relief in sight. Floridians were beginning to wonder if our meteorologist had fallen asleep. But, we moved forward with our plan and our goal to kick some pancreatic cancer butt by building teams and raising serious cash for funding of this dreadful cancer. Rain could not deter us from assembling our battle teams.
According to the American Cancer Society, “for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five year rate is 6%. These low survival rates are attributable to the fact that fewer than 20% of patients’ tumors are confined to the pancreas at the time of diagnosis, in most cases, the malignancy has already progressed to the point where surgical removal is impossible.”
“In those cases where resection an be performed, the average survival rate is 18 to 20 months. The overall five year survival rate is about 10% although this can rise as high as 20% to 25% if the tumor is removed completely and when cancer has not spread to lymph nodes.”
It just made perfect sense to ask my friends, family and neighbors to help us with in this fight. BUT, I was not prepared for what was about to happen.
Purple Stride events can be found across the nation and have been raising awareness and funding since 2003. “For participants it is a time to honor loved ones fighting pancreatic cancer. It is a day when all of the family and friends of pancreatic cancer patients can come together in solidarity to gain both comfort and encouragement.” according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network based in Manhattan Beach, California.
Our team, Judes’ Dudes raised over $12,000 honoring family members who had earned their purple wings and others who are in the fight today.
That morning I said a little prayer to God and also to JT that they would please stop the rain just long enough for us to complete the 5K. And, just before the race was started, our prayers were answered, the rain stopped just along the beach in perfect timing, of course.
The survivor tent was a great place for survivors to mingle and share their journeys. It was encouraging to see the hope in their eyes and know that they were not alone in their fight. Numbers and emails were exchanged.
My biggest surprise was to see my hero, Mayo surgeon Dr. Horacio Asbun, the man who performed my whipple surgery and literally saved my life.
After the race, my sweet Tom asked everyone to come back to the house for brunch. Chef Hector and his team from TPC Clubhouse did an amazing job feeding the runners.
And we ended the race with a dance request….Mike D’Errico wrote “I guess this is how you fight cancer.”