Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

Once again, I find myself a champion for the color purple.  November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and the signature color for this awareness is purple.  Why am I championing this fight?  I will tell you.  It is because of Jane.  You have heard me talk about Jane before.  She is the Aunt to my good friend, who I think it is safe to call one of my best friends, E.  Last winter, Jane was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  Knowing this was one of the most aggressive forms of Cancer, Jane had strong faith, and was determined to fight.  Unfortunately, this past summer, Jane lost her battle, and passed away from this terrible disease.  Since then, E has decided to make it her mission to raise awareness and help find a cure for Pancreatic Cancer, as well as all forms of Cancer.  Today, I am doing a little something to help with her mission.  I did not know Jane well, nor did I get to be around her as much as I would have liked, but her impact and influence is long reaching.

The best thing I could think of to honor Jane was to do something to raise awareness about Pancreatic Cancer in a lighthearted, fun way.  Jane, from everything I know and have heard about her, loved to bring out the fun in every situation.  So, I thought to myself, what is fun?  Balloons.

  Balloons are fun, most people love balloons.  But how can balloons raise awareness?  Then it hit me.

I printed up short little cards (with purple ink of course) and cut them out.

The cards contained some facts about Pancreatic Cancer, including a link to a website to raise awareness, and the link to my blog, asking the people who find the balloon to visit this post and leave me a comment (do you see where this is going???).

I ordered 6 purple balloons from a local store.  When I picked them up, I attached a card to each balloon.

The idea is that I would release the balloons, people would find them, they would become more aware, hopefully help spread the awareness, and leave me a note on this blog letting me know they did so.

Now, where to release them?  I wanted to do them in different places, and not just random places either.  I decided to go ahead and release one right at my starting place, where I had picked the balloons up, as this was the start of my mission.  Every mission must have a beginning.

The next place I went to was the cemetery where Jane is buried.  This was tough.  It rained as I drove over.  This place has double meaning, as my father in law is buried there too.  He had Esophageal Cancer.  I released a balloon and said a prayer for them both.

The next place I went was the Kittanning Elks.  This was the first place I met Jane, back at the Hot Dog Benefit for the Relay for Life.  I knew right away she was a special lady.

Next, I released a balloon at Jane's church.  Her faith was such an important part of her life, and she never ever gave up on God.  We all could learn a lesson from her in this way.

Unfortunately, after this the batteries ran out in my camera.  The next balloon I released was at the house Jane lived in.  E lives in this house now.  E also raises Jane's doggie Rosie, who is good friends with my doggie.  Lots of love fills that house, a tradition Jane started and E continues.

The final balloon I released at my house.  This is because I want to strive to live out the lessons that Jane taught me, about living life to the fullest, loving God, cherishing my friends and family, and never giving up.

I love you Jane, and I love you E.

So if you saw purple balloons floating over Kittanning today, now you know why.  Jane, I hope you saw them as you looked down from above.

For more information about Pancreatic Cancer, and what you can do to help raise awareness, please visit or