I could easily give you the statistics about pancreatic cancer. Face value, they’re pretty grim. For all stages of pancreatic cancer, the five-year survival rate falls between 5 and 6%. There is still no early testing… and no cure, unless you’re among the less than 20% eligible for surgery to have it removed only in its earliest stages and even then, there’s no certainty. What’s more, there is hardly any federal funding.
I won’t persist with the stats, though. I never put much stock in them anyway; my dad sure as hell didn’t. One thing that’s for sure, he never lived his life based by the numbers.
Instead, I’m going to tell you a story, in more ways than one.
This November is pancreatic cancer awareness month. I’d like to share with you my father’s courageous fight – chapters, if you will, spanning several blog posts. Perhaps you’re much the way I used to be… you know, living life with cancer being way over there. I’m just going to bring it a little bit closer, if that’s alright with you. I don’t know what, if anything, you may glean from my father’s story, but if I may speak frankly, I believe you will never question the power of the human spirit again.
Are you ready for the journey?
Together, we can make a difference…
(November 1 – Purple Hope and Saints coming soon)
I had the privilege of participating in the Lustgarten Foundation‘s walkathon in Paramus, New Jersey, on Sunday, September 21, 2014. The Paramus walkathon was actually organized several years ago by Jean Weber and her family after she lost her husband, Ron, to pancreatic cancer. They are an amazingly tight-knit family, not to mention the most wonderful, down-to-earth bunch of people you’ll ever meet in your life. What they do to raise funds in the fight against pancreatic cancer, as well the awareness they create, is simply amazing!
It was a wonderful yet bittersweet morning. Family and friends were united as they walked in honor of their lost loved ones. More importantly, nothing is as inspiring as seeing survivors of pancreatic cancer march out to lead the long line of walkers.
The long line of walkers.
It struck me – as beautiful as the event was, the line of walkers was simply too long. Far too many people have lost their lives to this disease; far too many families shattered, left struggling for answers, left struggling to make sense of it all.
Of course, my father was on my mind, and I could feel my throat growing tighter as I soaked everything in around me. But then my daughter held my hand, proudly sporting a peel-on tattoo she’d received on her arm from the children’s tent area. She joyfully chattered about getting a pony ride as well. Her laughter, as well the many warm smiles from people surrounding me, reminded me of one thing: eventually the sadness and grief numbs; the love – that will always remain.
It became a stirring day.
My hope is that for next year, the line of walkers is just a few people shorter…
~ Joseph A. Pinto
Hello! My name is Joseph A. Pinto and welcome to Purple Hope!
George Henry Lewes once said, “The only cure for grief is action.”
And he was right. Grief is different things to different people, even down to the manner in which we come to terms with it. No right or wrong ways exist to our process; more importantly, perhaps, is the path we eventually choose.
I found myself along that road several months after my father passed from pancreatic cancer in 2007. It was an excruciatingly painful time, but I did settle upon my own cure. I wrote a book in tribute to my father, a fantasy tale that took his real world and transformed it into myth. In turn I did something else – I offered a message of hope and of unity to be shared with others in a similar situation such as myself.
My intent for Purple Hope is a simple, heart-felt one: share healing, share caring. Share your stories – Purple Hope is your place to express your thoughts and feelings freely. Provide news and updates on your fundraising events. Allow your loved ones to breathe life again, for all others to read, as I did for my father.
I hope you find Purple Hope to be a positive place, one you will visit often.
Joseph A. Pinto
If your life has been affected by pancreatic cancer – or another form of cancer or disease – and wish to share your story, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can visit me as well at josephpinto.com