Wage Hope to end pancreatic cancer
On August 3, 2016 our loving dad and husband, Steve LaTourette, lost his 2-year battle against pancreatic cancer. Steve is missed deeply by his family, friends and colleagues. On June 8th, Team LaTourette will walk at PurpleStride in Washington DC in his memory, and we hope you will consider joining or supporting us.
The very first Team LaTourette was thrown together quite quickly - over Memorial Day weekend of 2015, just after Steve and I sat down with our young children to give his condition a little more of an explanation- and a name. It was a number of months after his initial diagnosis and he had already endured surgery and months of grueling treatment. We had been talking to our children about Steve being sick from the beginning, but had been counseled to follow their lead and let their questions guide us as to when they needed and wanted more information. They had recently lost a grandmother to cancer and we both knew that introducing that word into their understanding of Steve's illness was going to change everything. We had been dreading this moment, but they had shown us it was time. So during that long family weekend we sat down with them and tried to explain a little more. It was the hardest thing we had ever done as parents until then.
Afterwards I was searching for something to do with them that might make them feel just a little less helpless. When I learned that there was a PurpleStride coming up in less than 6 weeks, we offered up this idea- that we could put together a team and raise money to support researchers who were working hard on this disease. It was something concrete that they could do, when they were feeling powerless. And it spoke to their competitive natures too. That very first Team LaTourette raised nearly 40k in a little over 2 weeks. Most importantly, they got to see with their own eyes how many friends and family members supported them and would quite literally walk the walk with them.
In the years since then life has obviously changed dramatically for them, as we continue to deal with all of the same challenges that any family does after such a devastating loss and it has been important for my children to feel and see that they can "do something". It has given them a small sense of strength during a much bigger chapter of powerlessness and I hope is a seed that will grow over time. Over the years they have done many things to support PanCAN: both children spoke on the floor of the Ohio State House and Senate to urge increased funding and awareness; Emerson and her school friends devoted their 6th grade service project to raising money for PanCAN and held bake sales; we have gone to leadership breakfasts and advocacy days. And then once a year there is PurpleStride and Team LaTourette, and this requires us to ask for help.
Last year, Emma and Henry amazed me by being the keynote speakers at the race. They conquered their own fears and addressed a crowd of thousands, all in the name of this cause. And there to support them were family, friends, teachers, and classmates- all in our Team LaTourette t-shirts. It was an incredible day and, not surprisingly, they have decided that they want to put together a team again this year- which is of course the reason for this message.
The love and respect for Steve that people continue to express, and the support for our family, has been enormous and touches us deeply. We are very grateful to our friends, family, and community who have been there for us- not only on a race day- but on many, many days. We hope that June 8th might be one of those days, and that you will consider joining or supporting Team LaTourette at PurpleStride in Washington DC, when we walk in honor of Steve, and far too many others
Jennifer, Emma (12) and Henry (9)