Mike's Marauders

  • My Dad having fun.

    My Dad having fun.

Mike's Marauders


Raised: $623

Goal: $1,000

Welcome to our team fundraising page!

Mike's Marauders are again raising money to support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network by participating in PurpleStride Philadelphia.  We walk to honor my Dad, Michael L. Bridgeman, who died at the young age of 61 from pancreatic cancer on 10/03/05.  This year will mark 19 years that we have been without my Dad.  It is unfathomable that this much time has passed.  I think of him every day and how much Evan has missed without my Dad in his life.

My Dad had a difficult life that was cut short due to pancreatic cancer.  His family situation was not ideal.  Then he was disabled in his early 40s. Then he was beaten down by cancer.

From June - October of 2005, my Dad was rapidly losing his fight against pancreatic cancer. Plagued with stomach issues for most of his adult life, my Dad went to his GI doctor, who never looked any further than an EGD and suggested that he switch his daily meds around to see if that reduced his painful GI symptoms. My Dad had been losing weight due to a decreased appetite and started to have increased pain in his epigastric region. Our family doctor suspected gallstones and sent him for a CT scan. The CT scan revealed lesions on his pancreas and lung and a further biopsy of the lung in June confirmed pancreatic cancer. We were referred to a cancer center in Philadelphia.

It was a cold, sad place. I described it as being a cattle in a chute. Sign in here, wait, get called. Go to another area, sign in, wait, get called. And yet another. When you were finally moved into the office, you had to wait for another 45 minutes until the doctor would finally come in. You spent an entire day there for a 20 minute appointment. Each time you went. EACH time. It was the same. And after meeting with the oncologist, I got the impression that they just didn't know what to do with him. It was like, It's pancreatic cancer. It's typically fatal. So sorry.

My Dad was in a clinical trial for a new chemo med, but couldn't tolerate the primary med (THE med for pancreatic cancer at the time, Gemzar) and was hospitalized for 5 days with an elevated temp while they tried to figure out why he couldn't tolerate the Gemzar. They had no idea. Well, Mike, you can't tolerate the med, so the trial med can't be given, so you're out of the drug trial. He transferred to our local cancer center so he wouldn't have to endure the long trips to Philadelphia. So my Dad was hustled back and forth to the hospital for these new appointments at our local hospital; for paracenteses to remove the fluid accumulating in his abdomen 2-3 times per week, for swallow studies, and for a host of other things. But with no other viable treatment options beyond Gemzar, my Dad opted out of treatment. The only other option was hospice. Pain medication, anxiety medication, TPN temporarily, and paracenteses were allowed for comfort.

I held his hand as he died on October 3rd, 2005, and made sure it was peaceful for him. I could at least do that for him since he was there for me my entire life.

October 3rd approaches every year and I tend to get sadder and more isolated as October gets closer. I love to celebrate Halloween because I know that the miserable month is over.

The statistics on pancreatic cancer are horrible, but improving, with a 5 year survival rate finally cresting over 10% after 18 years of following this disease, that I never heard of before my Dad's illness and nursing school. Being a survivor is a rarity. And that is very disconcerting.

Please help fund an organization that provides patient/family support, does research and has been there for me from the beginning. By making a donation to our team, you are supporting efforts to double the survival rate for this deadly disease.  

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.