Hundreds walk to raise pancreatic cancer awareness - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Hundreds walk to raise pancreatic cancer awareness

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)- According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 71 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Those who have lost loved ones and those who are survivors gathered in Rochester today to bring those numbers down.

Just under 44,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012. 37,000 will not make it.

Those are the ones who they walk for; the family members, the friends, the colleagues. They walk for the sole purpose of finding a cure

"With pancreatic cancer, we have seen very little change in over 40 years," explains Kim Downs, the co-coordinator for Purple Stride Rochester. "Unlike some of the other cancers that have some of the advanced research, pancreatic is still stagnant."

Purple Stride Rochester is in its third year, and the fact that hundreds showed up in the cold and windy weather to walk means the world to those who have beaten the odds, like Brenda Coleman, who in her 11th year of survival, is a part of the 6 percent who live beyond three years of being diagnosed.

"In some ways, being a survivor has a huge responsibility. So many people wish that their loved ones would've been a survivor, too, and most people here have lost someone. So for me, as a survivor, it's extremely emotional to be here, to be alive and to know that I have to carry on that message as a survivor and that I have a blessing that many people wish they would've had. So, I appreciate so much those who have come back, even though they have lost their loved one, so they can make a difference for those who will encounter that disease later."

The largest group walks in honor of former Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Mark Callahan, who passed away last December.

"It's empowering, it means a lot," says Lindsay Young, a former Rochester resident and member of Team Callahan. "It's exactly what Mark was all about; bringing people together for a good cause and having great joy in doing it."

Whatever the motivation may be, they all stand united to fight pancreatic cancer until it no longer takes a life.

Pancreatic carcinoma currently has the highest mortality rate of all cancers.

There are treatments to slow it down, but there is no cure.

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