Miles for Mama was started in 2016 by Darla Gliptis and her daughter Shannon Lee. Growing up Shannon always called Darla “Mama”so this team name just seemed fitting.
In November, 2015 Darla Gliptis, was diagnosed with Stage 1 B pancreatic cancer. Her only warning was left side pain under her ribs and to her back. Thank God for the excruciating pain which lead her to insist on getting a CT scan when her doctor wanted to do nothing. Early detection is the key to this type of cancer and there are no tests for prevention. Darla completed 5 months of extensive chemo and 25 days of radiation. If the tumor shrunk enough she would have been a candidate for a complicated surgery which everyone was hoping for. Just a few days after completing radiation Darla and her family found out the cancer had spread to her liver. She was no longer a candidate for surgery. This was devastating news for Darla, her husband Marc, and only child Shannon. Shortly after finding out the cancer had spread the pain became so intense for Darla. After months of trying to get the pain under control, Darla’s body was getting too weak to handle any kind of treatment. It didn’t matter what treatment she tried, if it had side effects she would have them and they would be the worse case the doctor had seen. After trying a new pain medication that was prescribed by the pain doctor, Darla got very sick. The next morning her body was so weak, but she had to go to her oncologist. Shannon took one look at her Mama and knew what they needed to do next. It was time to talk about hospice. Shannon was terrified what her Mama may think of this suggestion but she knew that some how some way she had to get Darla out of pain. It was agreed upon at the visit that hospice would be the next best choice. They could provide Darla with the pain medication she would need and the equipment at home that she would now require. Darla started on hospice Labor Day of 2016. A short few weeks, later she lost her battle. Hospice was able to better control her pain but it was very apparent that the cancer was just taking over. Darla spent her last few days with her family, her husband, and her daughter. They made the best of the time they had together. If you ask Shannon, she would do anything to have her Mama back but she feels very lucky to have had her the 316 days that she did after being diagnosed. Many families are not so lucky.
Pancreatic Cancers has no detection. It is the 3rd killing cancer and moving to be the 2nd pretty fast. Darla’s husband and daughter fight for this cause the best way they can but can’t do it alone. Shannon made one last promise to her Mama and it was to never stop fighting her fight. Shannon Volunteers as the Affiliate Chair for the San Diego Affiliate for The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. She is involved in all planning, fundraising, and waging hope. This still is not enough to bring the awareness needed so other families and affected people don’t go through what Darla and her family did and still do.
It is estimated that in 2016 53,070 Americans would be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 41,780 would die from the disease. With only 9 percent survival rate.
This is why participation and donation mean so much. Please join Miles for Mama in their second PurpleStride. Help them bring awareness to a much needed cause.