In Detroit, activists recently came together to raise money for pancreatic cancer research through a walk called “The PanCAN PurpleStride walk.” Each year about 62,000 people are newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This walk is a national movement to raise awareness for the condition as well as money to support novel research.
Pancreatic cancer is, like all cancers, a devastating and heart wrenching diagnosis. It occurs when cancerous, abnormal cells develop within the pancreas, creating a malignant tumor. It is not uncommon for pancreatic cancer to eventually spread to more organs in the body.
It is currently the 10th most frequently diagnosed cancer in the U.S.
Many individuals who have lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer, or who know someone who is currently facing the condition, come together for this walk. For instance, Kathy Boertmann sadly passed away from the cancer in 2020 after a four-year battle. Her daughter, as well as her granddaughter, walked in her honor.
Michael Godfrey also lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2016. Before he passed, he asked his family to participate in the walk with him. His niece, Shannon, reflects on how he walked the entire walk, family by his side.
Edna Jackson Gray is still fighting her cancer battle. She was first diagnosed 15 years ago. In 2007, she had her very first surgery but sadly, in 2012, the cancer returned. In the summer of 2022, Edna is celebrating her 76th birthday. She participated in the PanCAN PurpleStride walk this year. She explains that she took her bike with her in case she wasn’t able to do the entire walk on foot. But she showed up to demonstrate her support and showcase her own perseverance.
Edna says to those fighting that if you’re still fighting, it’s not over yet. Don’t give up on your journey.
You can read more about this walk and what it means to patients and their families here.