Losing Four Family Members to Pancreatic Cancer | Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month


I raise awareness for four people in my family who passed away from pancreatic cancer. It was my mother and my dad my sister-in-law and my husband but those four people were also genetically unrelated to each other but three of them are genetically related to my children and to my grandson. I am a new grandmother and what I want to do is if they have the unfortunate circumstances of getting pancreatic cancer I want to make it where there’s more hope for them,
more treatment for them. My mom was diagnosed in 1978 and she had about three months between the time she was diagnosed and when she passed away. They only were able to find it when they did exploratory surgery and they closed her right up again. And I remember the surgeon coming into the room and telling my dad and I that there was no hope and that she was going to pass very soon, which she did. It was a very devastating moment for our family, she was only 57 years old when that happened. For my dad, it was 11 years later and he was sick for a year and no one really knew what was happening and then he too was
diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It floored the whole family, that you know this happened to both of my parents and it was only a month between the time
where he was diagnosed and he passed away suddenly in the hospital. Jumping to my sister-in-law, again she was sick for about a year no one knew what it was. She was diagnosed she got a little bit of treatment but she was gone in about three months
and that was 2012. My husband was a little bit of a different story. He was diagnosed, I think it was February
or January of 2004 and he survived for 24 months. He had successful chemotherapy
treatment He had surgery. He had an okay life for most of those months and then but ultimately you know the disease did get him too. I hate pancreatic cancer enough that after my husband
passed away from it particularly, he was 49 years old and you know we had two kids that he left that myself and eight other people founded the first PurpleStride Washington D.C. and our core group of eight volunteers ran it for many years. And then we eventually got out of it but now I think just had its 9th
PurpleStride. I think, at this point, that PurpleStride D.C. has raised 5.6 million dollars, which is very exciting so you know that’s something that we can
all be very proud of. But what I did and what a lot of other people did, they just channeled their energy and their grief really into doing something
proactive and working on PurpleStride for me was a great way to be proactive and to do something positive towards getting rid of this disease. Between the time when my mom got it in 1978 and when my husband got it in 2004 I was very shocked by was that there had been very little change
in the diagnosis. I was sitting with my husband hearing
this terrible diagnosis it was like I was back it was back in 1978. Very little treatment. You know something like only 20% of the people were helped by
only chemotherapy at that time and we came out of that really shell-shocked. Since then there has been some progress not enough but there are now many more
treatments that are available There are more survivors. It’s gone from 6% to 9%. So yeah there is progress being made but it’s not fast enough. I mean 9% of pancreatic cancer patients survive. That is a terrible number and we have to get a lot higher than that.

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