Teaming Up for the Fight


These were the words flying high on purple banners at Steele Indian School Park while a sea of people dressed head to toe in shades of purple milled about. The park's grassy lawns and winding sidewalks hosting PurpleStride Phoenix 2013 was covered in this color that represents the support and awareness of pancreatic cancer.

Team JEaffro

KNOW IT. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths and this year it is estimated that there will be 44,000 people diagnosed with this disease. Pancreatic cancer's onset is virtually imperceptible; the symptoms are rarely detectable until the cancer advances to a life threatening state. This is just one of the many reasons why this cancer takes so many lives every year. In terms of research for a cure, this aggressive cancer is also one of the most underfunded, one of the most underrecognized, and one of the most under-studied of all the major cancer killers. This year, 38,000 will die from pancreatic cancer. FIGHT IT. The associciation behind the PurpleStride fundraisers is the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. This nationwide organization's mission is to increase the research this cancer gets, to deliver support to patients, and to reinforce hope to the lives that have been affected by pancreatic cancer. Through community outreach like PurpleStride, the possibility of discovering a cure increases alongside public awareness of the disease as well as research funding. END IT. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's advocacy efforts have increased federal funding for pancreatic research from a little over $17 million in 1999 to nearly $100 million in 2011. A striking $82 million increase! The race to end pancreatic cancer has burst through the starting gate, but the finish line is still far in the distance. Still, each step, big or small, is one great leap towards ending this cancer -- ending this nationwide killer. PurpleStride Phoenix 2013 That morning at Steele Indian School Park the hope and support was shining brighter than the Phoenix sun. The rays illuminated the compassion in each team that came in support of fighting and curing pancreatic cancer.

The two

I was moved by the excitmenet and encouragement of all those who participated. I was personally part of a team of friends from my church who walking in honor of Jeff, a beloved friend who had passed away from pancreatic cancer. With Team Jeffro, I was proud to run my first 5k alongisde my mother and daughter. most of it. My daughter, the stud athlete that she is, was quite the encourager: "Come on Mom! You can do it!" But, soon enough I could no longer see her purple back or her PoppyPocket hat! But, if only you had been there at the starting! Under the purple balloon arch stretching up towards the palm trees, runners and walkers were proudly holding images, banners, and encouraging statements for everyone they supported:

"In loving memory of _____."

"_____ you're a hero. We love and miss you."

"I am here in honor of _____."

The camaraderie couldn't have been more apparent between the survivors of pancreatic cancer, those currently fighting pancreatic cancer, and those walking in memory of those who were lost to the disease. It warmed my heart to feel the love and to see a community come together to fight for a cause.

Team Jeffro-horz

I am proud to say that PurpleStride Phoenix 2013 rasied a grand total of $96,663.

Community creating awareness is a great way to get in the know, to help in the fight, and to combat a cause till it ends.

The pancreatic cancer fighting community might be something that you'd love to involve your helping heart in! See if your area is hosting a PurpleStride fundraiser or see how you can get involved here!

If I dared you to get involved somehow, what organization would you love to get in touch with?

With each step, live boldly!