Karen Kiernan

Karen Kiernan


Raised: $3,648

Goal: $5,000

Welcome to My PurpleStride Personal Fundraising Page!

Pancreatic cancer does not stop or slow down, and neither do we!

I’m going to help make progress, with your support.

I’m participating in PanCAN’s PurpleStride, a year-round national movement that funds lifechanging programs and services for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.

Every dollar you give means more patients can benefit from PanCAN’s free, one-on-one support, personalized information, service and resources that can make a real difference in their lives. 

Saturday, April 29 at Soldier field is this year's Purple Stride . I hope my team members, the Beast and the Mermaid are able to return to support my efforts . I would love newcomers and please know you will receive a personally designed tee shirt (S-XXL)

Know Your Tumor  of PanCan was introduced to me to by my oncologist Dr Wang Gilliam from Barnes Washington U in St Louis several months after my initial diagnosis. Within a year of my diagnosis, I received a detailed DNA biopsy of my pancreas dictating the best treatment . I have a rare micro satellite instability high which permitted me to begin an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda . It was approved for stomach , colon and pancreatic cancer a few months earlier .  Initially, I completed. weeks of Folfirinox with a excellent response, though I continued to lose weight, loss of appetite, chronic back pain and  extreme fatigue. You need to advocate for yourself . PanCan was my strength and hope . I left go of my initial oncologist as he was not supportive of the direction I want to go . I hired an awesome oncologist, Dr William Leslie  from Rush Medical Center just prior to getting my biopsy results . Within two weeks being on Keytruda, I gained several pounds and the  back pain disappeared.

I wanted to share some parts of my journey . 

There has been ups and downs with my health following nearly three years on Keytruda  and a clinical trial at Barnes Jewish hospital in St Louis . I discontinued care at Barnes/ Washington U after the clinical trial . Dr Wang Gilliam was no longer practicing at Siteman. I decided my total care  would be managed at Rush Medical Center.  A frightening experience occurred during August  2019. I experienced severe abdominal pain and Mike rushed me to Rush Medical Center emergency room.  Dr. Sam Pappas performed the surgery and saved my life . Apparently my bowel was perforated by one of my biliary stents. My sincere gratitude as his surgical talents allowed me to thrive . Since then , my health has gone in the right direction. A blip in my liver labs occurred after starting on another immunotherapy drug called Optiva/Vervoy. Due to a suddenly high alkaline phosphatase, AST and ALT liver enzymes caused a concern with the team. Prednisone was started and a referral to a liver specialist . After testing , fortunately my liver is normal with no disease . Probably this side effect was caused by prolonged immunotherapy, I began on a liver medication and steroid and immunotherapy was discontinued.

I have been in remission for nearly 18 months . I continue to have a Ct scan quarterly in addition to a new blood test card Signatera . It tests the circulating DNA in your blood stream . My results have been negative  I have a good quality of life though I often have lower abdominal discomfort associated with elimination issues. I continue to take Creon though have increased the number of tablets from 4 to 6 and taking a probiotic twice daily . 

Please open your heart to make a gift of any size to get me one step closer to my fundraising goal and improving more patients’ lives. 

Keep in mind I experience a lot of anxiety and it helps to start new hobbies , like bread making , stay with the old hobbies  like knitting and painting and totally enjoy podcasts relating to golf and famous people. Can’t wait to ski with my 34 year old son as I am 66 years and loving the ride in the Sierras ! I love my home , the Glass House in Truckee which can be found on Yeti home Services as an Airbnb or vrbo STR

Patients and families need us now more than ever.


Thank you for your support.

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About PanCAN PurpleStride

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

On Saturday, April 27, 2024, at nearly 60 events 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 PanCAN's signature community celebration, raising money to fight pancreatic cancer on all fronts — through research, clinical initiatives, patient services, advocacy and nationwide volunteer support. Learn more.