My Mother's motto during her 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer was quite simply to "find joy everyday". Sounds simple doesn't it, but when suffering through the throws of chemotherapy and the miserable side effects of this terrible form of cancer, I can assure you her days were not easy. This motto has sustained me in my grief since her death in November of 2015 and continues to inspire me.
In fact, this was more than a "motto". The phrase became more of a command to the many loved ones and visitors that cared so much about her. She did not want pity, but rather she wanted to make sure everyone could see her as an example of strength and love. Rather than be angry at her condition, she challenged us all to find something or someone we loved and savor the fleeting moments we share together - in the face of uncertainty and sadness and doubt. So, despite our sorrow and fear of her loss, we went on laughing, reflecting or singing out loud as a show of solidarity with her condition.
It is with Mom's inspiration in mind that I now have committed to pursue a long standing dream of mine - running The New York City Marathon. In the process, I also hope make others aware of the challenges other families suffer in the wake of this disease while inspiring them to savor the simple overlooked pleasures of life.
The afternoon we received her sudden and devastating cancer diagnosis was 2 days before my parents 49th wedding anniversary. The expression on the radiologist's face is one I hope to never see again. Yet, despite the terrible facts about her remaining time with us, she displayed an amazing courage and resolution. She was determined to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary. So, like too many are forced to do, she set off on her journey. Today, I will do the same as I begin my training for the New York City Marathon.
I have joined the cause of Project Purple to help me on this path and to also recognize there are patients who are fighting pancreatic cancer right now and they need our help. The mission at Project Purple is to find a cure for pancreatic cancer and to improve the lives of patients through support, hope and compassion. The money raised for Project Purple provides funding for critical pancreatic cancer research and for an early detection test for pancreatic cancer. There is currently no form of early detection for this deadly form of cancer. The best odds at survival come when the disease is caught in its earliest stages. We also fund studies which seek effective methods to treat this deadly disease. Finally, we offer grants to graduate students who are pursuing a career in pancreatic cancer research.
I believe no one should this battle on their own. Though the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer stands at just 9%, we know that with your help we can make our vision of a world without pancreatic cancer a reality! Please visit http://www.projectpurple.org to learn more.