Purple is the colour globally associated with pancreatic cancer.
Up until 2017, landmarks across the majority of our communities have been lit up with purple lights to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.
The Canadian Cancer Society decided to go in a different direction for 2018, but that didn’t stop a group in St. John’s from carrying on the work.
“I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer, so supporting this venture and all cancers is important to me and my family,’’ said Mike Wahl, a Canadian Cancer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador board member.
“City Hall, the Confederation Building and others all lit up purple a few weeks ago in support of this venture. Government House, too. Now we have lights here in the garden at Daffodil Place, all in support of pancreatic cancer,’’ he added.
Wahl is well aware of what pancreatic cancer can do. He said it’s shocking that in the past five decades no advancements have been made to treat or possibly cure it. That’s something he wants to see changed.
So, he and a few of his friends decided to buy the purple lights from the Cancer Society and embark on their own campaign to continue the message and fundraise in support of the cause.
“A lot of people are not aware of the seriousness of pancreatic cancer. This is a deadly form of the disease and we want to use our voices and efforts to help make a difference for all those who have it,’’ he said.
Pancreatic cancer starts in the cells of the pancreas where the tumour grows into and destroys nearby tissue. It can also spread to other parts of the body.
Most often, pancreatic cancer starts in cells of the pancreatic duct. This type of cancer is called ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. About 95 per cent of all pancreatic cancers are ductal adenocarcinomas.
The pancreas is a flat, pear-shaped gland behind the stomach. It is part of the digestive system. The pancreas is also part of the endocrine system that is a group of glands and cells in the body that make and release hormones that control many functions, such as growth, reproduction, sleep, hunger and metabolism.
“It made sense for us to partner with Mike and his group on this project,’’ Al Pelley, vice-president of philanthropy for the Cancer Society said.
“As part of our mission, we support all forms of cancer (initiatives) and any information or support we can provide to those involved in these initiatives is important,’’ he added.
He said lighting up the tree in the Daffodil Place garden is a tribute to those suffering from pancreatic cancer and all forms of cancer.
Pelley said the tree will remain lit throughout the holiday season and perhaps, if people in the community are inclined to give, throughout the holiday season. He said perhaps Daffodil Place or the Canadian Cancer Society will be a choice for them.
For more information on all forms of cancer and what the Canadian Cancer Society does, go to http://www.cancer.ca/en/?region=nl for more.
— With files from the Canadian Cancer Society