Sweltering in over 90-degree heat, 950 walkers and runners participated in the first PurpleStride Delaware June 1 at the Riverfront in Wilmington.
The Delaware Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network planned the event as part of a national effort to raise funds to fight this disease. Known as Pancan, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network brings individual volunteers together to advance research, support patients and create hope for those suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Amanda Hapgood organized the event, nearly doubling the original goal, to raise more than $86,000. The theme was Pancreatic Cancer: Know It. Fight It. End it. Booths were available for information on pancreatic cancer and volunteer opportunities for those wanting to make a difference.
Delaware Affiliate Advocacy Coordinator Joe Wescott praised volunteers and participants for their hard work. Bob Lougheed, known around the area as a popular Elvis tribute artist, was the emcee and told about his own struggle with pancreatic cancer years ago. Mark Rosenthal of Milton was honored with a gift basket for his volunteer work and fundraising for Pancan. A hush came over the crowd of more than 1,000 when survivors were asked to come to the stage. There were only seven.
Family and friends of Linda Limouze of Lewes came together to form a team of 26. “It is very interesting, profound and amazing that the awful disease of cancer can bring out the best in family, friends and people you don’t even know. They help you, care about you, support you, and pray for both the patient and caregiver. This is very comforting,” said her husband Bob.
The fact sheet on pancan.org explains that more than 45,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and more than 38,000 will die from the disease. The five-year survival rate is a mere 6 percent, making it the fourth leading cause of cancer death. It is the most underfunded, unrecognized and least studied of major cancer killers, with only 2 percent of the National Cancer institute’s annual budget dedicated to research for it.
Sponsors of the event included Wilmington University, CBS and the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center of Christiana Care Health Services.
The next big event of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is Advocacy Day, June 17 and 18 in Washington, D.C. The 547 registered participants will meet with Congress to educate them about pancreatic cancer and to advocate for increased research for this disease.
For further information on pancreatic cancer and ways to get involved, contact www.pancan.org or follow the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network – Delaware Affiliate on Facebook.