Seven years ago, my mom, Margaret Noctor Oshida, was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Over the next 9 months she taught me and many others what true grace, humility, strength, and courage were. At the time, there were very few options available for those facing this horrendous disease and mortality rates were dismal. Seven years later, the prognosis is essentially the same and the numbers, if anything, are worse. Last year, pancreatic cancer moved from the 4th leading cause of all cancer deaths to the 3rd, surpassing breast cancer. It is projected to surpass colorectal cancer as the 2nd leading cause of all cancer deaths by 2020. And yet, it receives far less funding. Currently there are still no early detection methods available and as a result, 71% of people with this disease will die within 1 year of diagnosis. Only 20% of those diagnosed even have the possibility of a cure through surgery, and then the surgery itself is only successful for about 20% who receive it. As a result, it has the lowest 5-year survival rate of any major cancer by far, at just 8%. Furthermore, while overall cancer incidence and survival rates are improving across the board, pancreatic cancer is the only type whose incidence and death rates continue to increase. This is an unacceptable trend.
Part of the fundraising problem with pancreatic cancer is that since this disease is so debilitating and fatal, there are almost no survivors able to support this cause themselves and raise money to combat this disease. At every PurpleStride event I have attended over the years, hundreds to thousands have come out and among them, only 2-6 people were survivors. This is almost inconceivable and yet, that is the truth of this disease. It is almost entirely up to the friends and families of the victims to keep this fight alive and strong. So for my mom, for the hundreds of thousands of people who have or will suffer and die at the hands of this disease, for all those who cannot fight, join me and let's fight for them. Thank you for joining this cause. Any type of support you can provide is appreciated more than you can know.