Elizabeth Rumbel

  • Charlie and (little) Charlie: waging hope.

    Charlie and (little) Charlie: waging hope.

Elizabeth Rumbel


Raised: $1,761

Goal: $1,250

Purple ribbons do not rewrite the future of cancer. We do.

September 6th, 2018:  It was just over two weeks after my daughter was born, and our wedding anniversary.  I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital for a postpartum wellbeing check when my mom texted me.

Dad has cancer.

My name was called a few moments later.  I sat in the exam room, numb.  The midwife asked how I was doing.  Was I eating?  Sleeping?  Feeling okay?  I said yes to all of these questions, but didn't mention mom's text.

Why would I mention it?  It couldn't have been real.  The test had to be wrong.  Not my dad, no, not right now.  We just welcomed a baby girl who we named after him.  Charlie.  It had to be a mistake.  I just saw my dad in June for my baby shower.  He only had back pain. He said it was probably from yard work.  Or sleeping wrong.  Or a previous fall.  He had lost some weight, but he said it was from not drinking his usual soda at lunch.

A few short weeks later and scans and a biopsy gave the news.  There wasn't a mistake.  Not only that, his cancer metastatic.  It had already spread.  And true to the form of pancreatic cancer, all of this wasn't discovered until it was the advanced--terminal--stage 4b.  

Dad was optimistic and hopeful throughout all treatments.  He combed his hair once a week, before church on Sunday, so it wouldn't fall out.  His weight and appetite continued to drop, to the point that he proudly wore his "vintage" suits from the 1970's that he outgrew decades earlier.  He took my mom on a cruise through the panama canal, and our family enjoyed a trip to Walt Disney World in June.

He tried various chemo formulas, and shortly after our Disney trip, his oncologist said it was time to discontinue this type of treatment.  The only medical option at that point was experimental immunology, which he signed up for without hesitation.

My dad died August 29th, 2019, just a few days short of the one year anniversary of his diagnosis.

And even though I knew that the 5 year survival rate of stage 4b pancreatic cancer is only 3%, I too tried to be hopeful throughout his treatment.

Even now that he has passed, I have decided to hold onto that hope--that one day, somewhere, a cure for this terrible disease will be found.

Pancreatic cancer patients deserve better treatments and outcomes.

Outcomes won't improve without a greater investment in research.

Research cannot advance without a strong scientific community pioneering breakthroughs.

And a community for progress will not grow without elevating national awareness of the cause.

By making a donation, you are support the efforts to double the survival rate for this deadly disease by 2030.  You are supporting one of the very few resources out there that have helped me and over 50,000 other families a year make sense of this relentless cancer.  You are waging hope.

Purple ribbons aren’t enough. Please join me in the fight today. 

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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.