Annual PurpleStride for pancreatic cancer draws hundreds despite weather

NOW: Annual PurpleStride for pancreatic cancer draws hundreds despite weather

FRANKLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Pancreatic cancer has affected millions of people's lives. Long-time television personality Jerry Springer recently passed away from pancreatic cancer.

In Franklin on Saturday, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, or PanCAN, hosted their annual PurpleStride walk to support those and their families who are impacted by the disease.

"We've got a few hundred people gathered here for sure. And they're here to fight a cause that's more difficult and means more than just a rainy day," said Milwaukee PanCAN Affiliate Chair Holly Ignatowski.

Despite the cold and the on-and-off rain, hundreds of people came out to The Rock on Saturday to raise money for the fight against pancreatic cancer by participating in the annual PurpleStride walk.

CBS 58's Natalie Shepherd emceed the event.

Everyone there has their own story of how pancreatic cancer has impacted their life, including Ignatowski.

"It quite simply never ceases to amaze me, the dedication of people who want to fight this disease. I lost my mother to this disease in 1985, so that's almost 38 years ago, and she had nowhere to turn for answers," said Ignatowski.

Things have changed since then, Ignatowski says. Now, PanCAN works to raise funding for both those affected and to find a cure.

They also provide support for people looking for treatment.

Lori Malett lost her brother, Al, to pancreatic cancer. She says PanCAN was a huge help in getting him the help he needed.

"So, he was diagnosed in October of 2017, and he passed four months and one day after diagnosis. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network was an organization that supported us throughout his journey," said Malett.

PanCAN officials say pancreatic cancer is the 10th most diagnosed cancer in the U.S., but accounts for one third of cancer deaths.

While the survival rate has improved in recent years, people like Malett say this walk is to make sure it keeps getting better.

"But when you Google a 12% survival [rate], when my brother died, it was a 9%, it's very daunting, and hearing stories of hope, that's what keeps you going," said Malett.

At the event Saturday, donors like Malett, and many others raised nearly $200,000, with a goal of $265,000 that they hope to hit in the coming weeks.

They say it's all to keep fighting back.

"Our goal is a 20% survival rate by 2030. I hope we're surprised and it's even higher than that," said Ignatowski.

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