In September 2008, my mom Lisa Marie Parsons was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, after intially being mis-diagnosed by other doctors. Two weeks later, she had an operation known as the Whipple Procedure. She would go on to be in and out of the hospital for the next several months due to various complications. She would end up passing away from this terrible disease on May 7, 2009 at the young age of 52. Needless to say, I love and miss her dearly.
When she was initially diagnosed, I did all of the research I could to figure out what exactly this was, the chances of survival, and the causes. FYI, she was fit as a fiddle and didn't smoke and rarely drank. It just made no sense to me. I discovered PanCAN.org. It was through that website that I was slapped in the face with reality. As much as I hoped and prayed for the best outcome, I knew what the realistic expectations were based on my research.
I really wanted to be involved with the PanCAN organization. The closest affiliate however was 2 hours away in Chicago. Outside of a couple of wrestling shows I promoted to raise awareness, and writing letters to the local newspaper, I felt like I needed and wanted to do more.
Thankfully, I was afforded that opportunity when my wife and I moved a few miles north of Indianapolis in January 2015. I became involved with the Indianapolis affiliate later in the year as Media Relations Chair. In preperation of our signature event PurpleStride, I was able to appear in television, print, and radio interviews. I also tried to think outside of the box a little bit by promoting PurpleStride at a health fair and at Grand Park in Westfield. Needless to say, PurpleStride 2016 was a HUGE success! We smashed all previous amounts of total dollars raised and was named Affiliate of The Year for the region! It was truly an honor to be a part of something so wonderful that raises money for research.
I also attended Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. in 2016. While there, myself and others from Indiana had the opportunity to meet Sen. Joe Donnelly and local representatives. Our mission is to get federal funding increased for research, which hopefully leads to early detection, which in turn will hopefully lead to doubling the survival rate by 2020. It was such an amazing experience, I've already booked my trip for 2017 as well, and plan on doing so every single year, God willing.
In my effort to continue to raise awareness, I was able to get Mayor Andy Cook and the City of Westfield to recognize World Pancreatic Cancer Day on November 17th. Outside of my family, I feel like my advocacy efforts give me a true meaning as to why I'm here on this Earth. I hope to make the most of my time with it. I hate that my mom passed away from it and my cousin Brian is currently fighting it, but I have to think doing my small part of advocating will indeed make a difference.
Here are a couple of pictures, doing what I can to fight the good fight and spread the word:
6/21/2016 - On the steps of Capitol Hill, advocating for my mom.
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