The first time I saw my dad cry just might be the saddest memory I have. Ever. And it's not that I saw him cry, it was my realization of why he cried.
I had just given him a gift my wife, Julia, thoughtfully found and put together.
The gift, very simple on the surface yet representing something much deeper to him, was a picture of my daughters, Olivia and Emma, in a frame that read "I love Papa.....my hero". As he opened it, I remember him sitting there not saying a word, looking at the picture, studying it. As his hands fidgeted slightly while holding the frame, to my surprise, I noticed a trail of tears streaming down his face - and my heart broke, and continues to break each time I think of those few minutes.
It was at that moment I got a glimpse into his reality.
My dad was dying. He didn’t see "just" a picture of his granddaughters. No, he envisioned all of the memories he ultimately would never be able to create with them and at that moment realized they truly were no longer attainable. While he wasn't gone yet, the opportunity of making new memories with me, my mom, Krista, Joel, Mel, Julia, Keely, Kaden, Olivia, Emma, Maggie, and Lily had already slipped from his grasp.
Pancreatic cancer killed my dad - but I will not let it kill his legacy. Through events like PurpleStride, we can all ensure his legacy will continue, that he will not be forgotten, and his death from cancer wasn't for naught. We can fight for those battling pancreatic cancer and provide support for those who are going through the same experience. And, over time, my daughters will know him through me and those who were impacted by him and understand what a great man their Papa G was.
How can you help?
- By walking or running with our team, CampGrammer, at the PurpleStride 5k/1 mile walk on February 29, 2020, at 8 am in St. Petersburg, FL.
- Understandably, not everyone will be able to make the event, so another option is to make a donation on behalf of Camp Grammer (in memory of Mike Grammer).
- You can spread the word and forward this link to someone you feel would be interested in participating, donating, and/or learning more about pancreatic cancer.
- I wouldn't be mad if you did all of the above.
In all fairness, it can be easy to get behind a cause like PurpleStride when you are directly impacted by cancer like my family was. It is much harder when you are further removed from the disease. This is why it means so much to me to get as many people out to this event as possible because, in the end, it will be those NOT directly impacted by this deadly disease that creates the awareness that will really make a difference.
Thank you for your support - it means more to me and my family than you can imagine!
Camp Grammer, in memory of Mike Grammer, is raising money in support of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (Pancan.org) by participating in the PurpleStride event on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at Vinoy Park in St. Pete, FL. The opening ceremony starts at 8:00 AM with the race/walk starting at 8:30 am.
It would mean more than anything to have you join our team and represent Camp Grammer at this amazing event.
For those of you who may not know, my father, Mike Grammer, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on October 23, 2015, and passed away only 79 days later. It is still hard to comprehend four years year later, how having only shown symptoms for a month or two prior to his diagnosis, he was taken away from us so abruptly. A late-stage diagnosis, all too common with pancreatic cancer, left him without a chance to fight.
So it is up to each one of us to fight for him, for those who currently cannot.....and those who today are progressing through the stages but don't yet know it. Whether you participate in the event and/or donate, please support us in helping create the awareness and raising the money needed to double the five-year survival rate by 2020. Sadly, it is only at 8% and the lowest of all cancers.
Again, it starts with awareness. The American Cancer Society released the following 2016 Cancer statistics:
• Pancreatic cancer is expected to be the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths with nearly 42k deaths, bypassing breast cancer.
• The one-year survival rate is only 24%.
• The five-year survival rate is the lowest of all cancers at 8%. By comparison, breast cancer is at 91% and prostate cancer is at 99%.
The high survival rates for breast cancer and prostate cancer proves doubling the survival rate CAN be done - but it is because of people like you, it WILL be done. WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!