Why I am running for Project Purple and raising money for pancreatic cancer:
I moved to New York City two years ago to begin the long journey of pursuing a PhD in cognitive neuroscience at the City College of New York. I was met at CCNY by a vibrant, wise, and eternally curious professor, Josh Wallman, who was faced with the difficult task of guiding and mentoring me through the perils of grad school. From day 1 I felt at home in the Wallman Vision Laboratory. It was immediately clear that Josh had built something very special there. The lab was like a family, strongly bonded by Josh’s jovial nature and inspiring, undying enthusiasm for science. I looked forward to going to lab, it grounded me and made me feel like I belonged to something, in a city so big that it’s easy to feel lost and insignificant. After many months I began to notice an almost somber undertone in the lab, and there were days where Josh’s normally upbeat and sometimes 'joshing' demeanor seemed tainted by something. I soon found out, that something was pancreatic cancer. A sinister disease which he had already been battling for longer than most. They caught the tumor early, and Josh was confident that he would keep the cancer at bay long enough for us to finish a few manuscripts together. Sadly, these hopes were crushed about a year after I first met this amazing man. His health took a very rapid and unexpected decline, and he passed away on March 3, 2012. He fought the cancer with grace and a smile on his face, and most students outside of his lab knew nothing of his suffering. I will never forget him, I learned a lot from him, and I know that I could have accomplished so much more with him if it weren’t for this terrible cancer.
Five years ago, I also lost my grandmother to pancreatic cancer. I did not know her as well as I wish I had, and I never got a chance to say goodbye to her. The cancer came without warning and took her life within 3 months of her diagnosis. I am only now realizing how much it would have meant to me to have had a chance to say goodbye. Now all that I am left with is a few childhood memories of her extremely caring and nurturing ways. She taught my mom well, and for that I am most greatful.
Pancreatic cancer stole many years from two people that I loved, and I want to help others whose lives are being affected by this unforgiving disease. This is why I have decided to push myself to the limit by running in my first ever marathon, to raise money for Project Purple. I am asking for your support as I give it my all to conquer this marathon, and with your help one day we will conquer the evil that is Pancreatic cancer.
Any donation, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated, thank you so much!
Here are some specifics on what donations to Project Purple support:
1. Scholarship Program – we provide scholarships to children and grandchildren that have lost a loved one to Pancreatic Cancer or have a loved one fighting. Candidates have to be either enrolled currently in college or high school senior. We provide small scholarships to help and give hope to continue their higher education.
2. Patient Financial Aid Program – we provide families fighting PC with financial aid to help pay the every day bills. Examples maybe rent, mortgage, car, utilities, food and anything else associated with everyday living so families can focus on fighting then worrying about paying these bills.
3. Research for a cure, early detection tests or improving the quality of life – we provide funding for research projects that show promise in finding a cure, early detection test or improving the quality of life for people with pancreatic cancer. Project Purple recently awarded two grants of $35,000 each towards pancreatic cancer research.
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