Courtneylee Martinez

Courtneylee Martinez

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Raised: $253

Goal: $500

Welcome to my PanCAN PurpleStride Personal Fundraising Page!

I have participated in many PurpleStrides and each one brings me more hope for the future against this horrific disease.

My first walk was in August 2011 (Boston)  in honor of a friend, Nain Gonzalez. Nain was diagnosed in June 2011 at age 41. He was smart, kind, fit, happily married and expecting his first child. He passed away 5 months after diagnosis, just 6 weeks before his daughter was born.

After witnessing how quickly pancreatic cancer can deteriorate a healthy and strong man, I knew I needed to do more – So I walked at Rhode Island PurpleStride in May 2012 and Boston PurpleStride in August 2012.

Yet, I didn’t feel like I was doing enough. In November 2012, around Nain’s one year passing anniversary, I joined the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network as the volunteer Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Rhode Island Affiliate. My role was to reach out to the public and healthcare professionals in RI to help educate about the organization, the PALS program, clinical trials and affiliate/national events. (I resigned from my volunteer role in August 2014 right before moving to Florida.)

I also walked at Rhode Island PurpleStride 2013, Boston Unite to Fight 2013, Rhode Island PS 2014 and Central Florida Purple Stride 2014, 2015, 2016 and Rhode Island 2017 and back to Central Florida in 2018. Rhode Island 2013 was one of my favorites because I had a very special person walking with me – my mom. Although she supported all my other walks, her work schedule and health never allowed her to walk with me but on May 5th, 2013, she did. She was happy to be a part of that day and talked about it for weeks following. I remember her saying she wanted to do more events – so she was the first to join me at Rhode Island Purple Light 2013.

No one could have imagined what my mom would hear just 18 months later - after many doctor appointments, hospital stays and medical tests, Dr. Mandeep Sawhney at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found an almost 4 cm mass on the head of her pancreas, just 48 hours after a different hospital said her pancreas was normal. On December 3, 2014 we received the official diagnosis, Stage 2b adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Although my mother put up one of the toughest fights I have ever seen or heard of, from undergoing the Whipple procedure by Dr. Jennifer Tseng at Beth Israel to chemo and radiation and bouncing back from many, many side effects, the cancer was too strong for her body. She passed away on April 9, 2016 at just 53 years old.

I don’t just miss my mom now – I already miss my future without her. I miss that my kids no longer have their nana. I miss our shopping trips and going to yard sales. I miss that I won’t see her get old and gray. I miss having a person I can call for any reason, at any time.

There was so much more she wanted to see – such as Hawaii and Aruba and Las Vegas. She wanted to ride and own more Harleys. Because owning two was not enough. 
My mom was always so full of life.. all she wanted to do was live it. But pancreatic cancer got in the way.

To say I am angry is an understatement – pancreatic cancer stole one of the most, if not the ABSOLUTE most, influential person in my life – my mother. I am angry that pancreatic cancer still has the lowest five-year survival of all major cancers. I am angry that there is still no early detection test. I am angry that doctors are still mis-(and late) diagnosing pancreatic cancer. I am angry that most people ignore this disease until they, or someone they love, are diagnosed – which is the opposite of what we did. 

Without my mom here, it would be easy for me to no longer care about pancreatic cancer awareness or research. I already lost my mom and there's no way to bring her back so why do I should I still care? Because
 one day, my life (or yours) may depend on it.

Please help by joining my team and walking with me on April 29, 2023 in Rhode Island. (Virtual participants are welcomed!)

Please help by making a donation to my team, Vickie’s Pocket Full of Posies.

Please help by sharing this event!

Together, I know we can make a difference!

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Courtneylee's Achievements

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  • $1,000GRANDCLUB

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About PanCAN PurpleStride

Local action. Nationwide impact. This is PanCAN PurpleStride, the ultimate event to end pancreatic cancer.

On One Big Day, through 60 PurpleStride events taking place across the country, pancreatic cancer survivors, families, caregivers, researchers and supporters will join together and walk to honor everyone affected by the disease.

PurpleStride is the number one way PanCAN raises money to fight pancreatic cancer on all fronts — through research, clinical initiatives, patient services, advocacy and nationwide volunteer support. Learn more.