Pancreatic cancer is a diagnosis no person, family member, or friend wants to hear. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all major cancers, at just 9%. This deadly disease has stolen our best and our brightest, but it can’t take away our determination. Three angels are who drive this team's determination to find a cure or improve testing are Barry, Arlene, and Shirley. Their family members share their stories below:
Barry (Written by his wife Carol Bourque)
In the spring of 2013, my healthy husband started getting stomach pains. He nicely blamed it on the coffee pot and told me I wasn’t cleaning it good enough. Being the good wife, I told him he could very well clean it himself (after 34 years this was OK to do!) I did clean it though even as I knew that wasn’t causing the pain. After this happened a few times and the pain got worse, he went to the doctor. After many months of tests, sickness and pain, we received the diagnosis that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer which had metastasized to his lungs. As with everyone who receives this diagnosis, we were devastated because we knew the odds.
Barry courageously fought for 2 years after diagnosis, but he lost the battle in 2016. During this time he kept his sense of humor and continued to make everyone laugh whenever he was around. We were able to do many things in those 2 years and I’m thankful for the memories we’ll always have.
During this time I found the Pancreatic Cancer Network and joined the Boston Affiliate. This is my 3rd year being a volunteer for the Purple Stride but the first year we’ve started a team to walk (Thank you April for being our team captain). I’ll continue to help raise awareness and money to end Pancreatic Cancer in memory of Barry and all the others who have had to fight this battle.
Arlene (Written by her daughter Lynda Roper)
This is my second year volunteering for the Purple Stride. This year, I will not only volunteer, but will be walking with my team as well. I do this for my mother, who lost her battle with this horrible disease.
What a fun loving person she was. She had such a big heart and was always there for those down and out. I can remember how excited she was when she started to lose weight...."Finally, she said, and said she felt great". Then, the back pain started, then the hospital stays with pancreatitis, and then the diagnosis...PANCREATIC CANCER.
I can remember all the family at the hospital on the day of her surgery. We prayed so hard for this to be a success. You can't imagine our shock, after 7 long hours of surgery, to be told, there is nothing they can do, and she has approximately 6 months to live. We were devastated and felt so lost. The hardest times were yet to come. She was so sick and yet kept on fighting.
Those 6 months, turned into 10...... That was over 20 years ago, yet the memories today are as fresh as they were then.
So, this is why I'm walking/volunteering, for her, for those gone with her and for those still fighting.
I Love You Mom
Shirley (Written by her daughter Laura Conway)
6 years ago on September 4th, my family and I lost our mother to this horrible disease. It all started in January of 2011 when she was having back pain and bad heartburn. The doctor prescribed medicine for her heartburn but it never went away. My mom then started to lose weight and had no energy. In June of 2011 they had diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer. There was nothing they could do and told us it had already spread to her other organs. It all happened so fast we didn't have time to plan or know what we were dealing with. I am part of "Purple Stride" because I hope some day soon they find a cure or tests to detect this disease early. My family and I miss my mom so much. We still talk about how fast she was taken away from us. mom
Our team has stepped up to Wage Hope at PurpleStride, the walk to end pancreatic cancer. Will you help us rewrite the future of this disease by making a donation today?
Every dollar that you donate ensures that the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network can continue working to create better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families. By donating to our team, you are supporting vital efforts to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020.
Purple ribbons aren’t enough. Please join us in the fight today.