ashley keefer wrote -
No one fights alone!! That’s why I’m running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 3rd 2015. My friend Carl was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in August of this past year. He is a trauma surgeon so dedicated to his career that he continued to work after his initial diagnosis. Watching first-hand the strength he showed in those weeks will be what carries him through the toughest battle of his life. I am unable to picture Carl without a smile on his face or joking with someone since the very first day I met him. I'm a Respiratory Therapist and was rounding with Carl in ICU when he asked me (with a straight face) to make a ventilator change that I knew was impossible based on the settings, but wasn't sure how to go about challenging the "new trauma doctor" in the most polite and respectful way possible. The five seconds it took me to get to the ventilator felt like eternity figuring out how to tell him I was unable to do as he asked. I stood there for a few seconds, took a deep breath and turned to face him. There he was, with the biggest grin on his face. What a relief to find out he was joking. ((Carl I still don't think it was funny, I was completely stressed...okay it was a little)) In downtime at work Carl would often talk about his family and it was so apparent what his family means to him. They are the reason for his smile.
I am ashamed to admit I didn’t know much about this aggressive form of cancer before Carl’s diagnosis. Since then, I have spent time researching it and unfortunately discovered that pancreatic cancer does not have the awareness it requires. I don’t understand a cancer so hard to detect in early stages with one of the highest mortality rates is so under-funded and under-researched. I have joined an affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Network that meets monthly and organizes events to raise money and awareness to help find a cure.
I decided to run for a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called “Project Purple” to help raise money to find a cure. Donations are tax deductible. Project Purple provides financial aid to families affected by pancreatic cancer, offers a scholarship program, and donates money to research for early detection.
Carl is truly the most inspiring person I have ever met. He has changed my life and doesn’t even know it. I am blessed to call him my friend and my life is better because I know him. I’m sure there are many more people that can say the same. He is the true definition of a hero in more ways than one. He’s not just any hero though, he’s mine!! I wear a purple armband every day that says “NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE”. I gave the same one to Carl as a constant reminder that he has a friend miles away fighting for him, his family, and his recovery.
Carl has spent his life selflessly taking care of others; it is now my honor to help raise awareness and fight to find a cure for him. I humbly ask for your support by donating to Project Purple. My goal is to raise $1000 dollars and with your help I know we can achieve it.
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE