Even Superstorm Sandy couldn't stop the fight against cancer.
After the storm wiped out the third annual PurpleStride New Jersey walk scheduled for Nov. 4, the organization found a way to raise money and awareness for the battle against pancreatic cancer after all.
The Northern New Jersey affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network held the PurpleStride Day of Inspiration Jan. 6 with about 200 participants at the Parsippany Hilton. The event was emceed by Rich DeMarco, the play-by-play voice of Army Black Knight football and Carla Marie, a producer from Z-100's Elvis and the Morning Show.
Several volunteers spoke during the hour-long ceremony, including five-year pancreatic cancer survivor Bob Brown, who encouraged people to continue to fight for a cure for what is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. The affiliate's Advocacy Coordinator Michael Weinstein, a seven-year survivor, discussed the recent passage of the Recalcitrant Cancer Act through the National Defense Act in Congress. This legislation requires the National Cancer Institute to evaluate its current efforts in studying pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, and other recalcitrant cancers, and focus on ways to improve outcomes.
"We were thrilled to have such an outpouring of support even after our initial event was postponed," said Event Coordinator Stephanie Blash, who lost her father to pancreatic cancer. "It was great to be around so many people who are committed to seeing the end of pancreatic cancer as we know it. Soon, we will find a cure to this terrible disease."
The event raised over $166,000 for the fight against pancreatic cancer and brings the total raised by the affiliate to more than $590,000 in three years.
The national Pancreatic Cancer Action Network says it seeks to create hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. One of its aims is to increase the survival rate for people diagnosed with the disease through a new initiative,The Vision of Progress: Double the Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rate by 2020.
Together, we can know, fight and end pancreatic cancer by intensifying our efforts to heighten awareness, raise funds for comprehensive private research, and advocate for dedicated federal research to advance early diagnostics, better treatments and increase chances of survival.
Todd Cohen is a teacher and a volunteer New Jersey affiliate media representative for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. He lost his father to the disease in 2002.