Julia Valenziano wrote -
This year, pancreatic cancer is expected to surpass breast cancer to become the THIRD leading cause of cancer related death in the United States and predicted to become the SECOND leading cause of death of cancer related death by 2020. This is not acceptable .
Last August, my family was devastated to find that my dad, Carl, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. My dad’s determination to beat his diagnosis inspired me to run in the Philadelphia Half Marathon as a member of the Project Purple team. Thank you so much to everyone who donated, I am proud to announce that we raised over $11,000 in less than 9 months, and I completed the race. My dad, in the fight of his life, was able to watch me cross the finish line and celebrate with me on that special day. He was truly touched by all the love and support and it is an experience I will always remember.
Sadly, Carl’s health continued to decline and he passed away August 24th, 2015. He was a father to five children and three grandchildren, a big brother to four, an accomplished surgeon, and a life-long Boy Scout and outdoorsman. His legacy and impact continues to live in the numerous people he came across. My dad had a wild sense of humor, but was equally as content building rocking horses in his workshop for his grandchildren, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, working on antique cars with his sons, or staring up at the stars on the beach. He was passionate about his work as surgeon and his involvement in the American Trauma Society’s injury prevention program. He passed his passions onto others, continuing to teach residents and anybody else in the medical field willing to listen months into his diagnosis, including me. In fact, I have come to share in many of my dad’s loves, not only for science and medicine, but also for fishing in Marco Island and walking the beach looking for shells.
This past November Pancreatic Cancer struck again. My friend and former college teammate Kristi lost her father Bruce, only weeks after his diagnosis. Bruce is survived by his loving wife Mary, sister Roz, and only daughter Kristi. As soon as her father was diagnosed, Kristi reached out to me to join the team. Together we are determined to raise money and awareness for this devastating disease.
Cancer can tear apart a family’s financial stability and ruin the small comforts that were once just daily routines. For this reason I joined the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Project Purple, because it raises money not only for pancreatic cancer research and academic scholarships, but also for financial aid to support families who struggle to support themselves. Project Purple has people like me running all over the country in various marathons raising awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer. More information can be found at www.run4projectpurple.org.
Like Carl, Bruce had a one of a kind sense of humor, and while the two never met, we are sure they would have gotten along wonderfully. Bruce worked in scientific sales, but his true passion was fundraising. He was actively involved in his synagogue’s capital campaign, and was helping them to rapidly hit their goals. Following in her father’s footsteps, Kristi hopes to channel her inner Bruce and help our team to exceed our mark.
We will be running the Philadelphia Love Half Marathon on April 10th, 2016, joined by twelve other people and we’re hoping to raise another $3,000. I miss my dad every day and I know Kristi does as well. I am bummed I won’t him them on the sidelines this year in his Project Purple gear, but he fought hard to beat this cancer, so now it is up to us to continue this battle, for Carl, Bruce, and for all the families affected by pancreatic cancer. Doingit4Dad!
How can you help? Please make a donation to Project Purple. If you would like to opt out of the extra fee, click “Get 100% of Your Donation to Charity.” All donations are tax deductible. Thank you again for your support last year and for considering continuing to support this cause. Every donation means the world to me. Too many people have lost loved ones to this horrible cancer.
Thank you for your consideration,
Julia Valenziano & Kristi Edleson