With a five-year survival rate of only 6 percent, it can be hard to find hope when someone is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but a local group is working to change that.
The Chattanooga affiliate chapter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will host the Purple Stride Chattanooga 5K timed run or walk and one-mile fun walk event Nov. 12 at the First Tennessee Pavilion, located at 1826 Reggie White Blvd. The fundraising goal has been set for $55,000 to go toward pancreatic cancer research.
"We are promoting research and awareness," said event coordinator Edith Snider, whose mother passed away from pancreatic cancer. "Pancreatic cancer is the fourth deadliest cancer, the most under-recognized cancer and the least studied cancer."
Registration for the race will begin at 8 a.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 9 a.m. which will include survivor recognition, an honor wall for lost loved ones and an address by Vanderbilt Pancreatic Research physician Dr. Michael Van Saun, said Snider. The 5K will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the fun walk at 10:30 a.m. The closing ceremony, featuring Mrs. Tennessee International Cydney Miller and live music from the Moon Pye Holding Co. band, will begin at 11:30 a.m.
"There's going to be a lot of purple," said Snider. "There's not a cure yet, but there is hope."
Early registration for the event is available online by visiting www.pancan.org/purplestride and looking for the Chattanooga link. Adult participation in the event costs $30 with a timing chip or $25 without, and $5 will be added to both entry fees the day of the race. Youth participation from ages 3 to 12 years old costs $15 with a timing chip or $10 without. Pancreatic cancer survivors and volunteers can participate free of charge.
Snider said merely maintaining status quo funding for pancreatic cancer is not acceptable and this event is a step toward changing that situation. Pancreatic cancer's difficult diagnosis process means that 75 percent of people diagnosed with it die within 12 months, she said.
"It's not a group you want to be a part of," said Snider's sister Kathy Andrews. "When you hear that word it shouldn't have to be a death sentence."
She explained that diagnosis is difficult due to the location of the pancreas and the fact that there is currently no screening process, blood test or X-ray system that can identify pancreatic cancer.
"The Thanksgiving of 2007 our healthy mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer," said Snider and Andrews' sister Tracy Beamon, who said they had never experienced a history of cancer in their family.
For more information, visit www.pancan.org/purplestride and look for the Chattanooga link.