Pancreatic Cancer Survivor Plants Hope In Brewer

Morgan Sturdivant

Updated 12 months ago

Christina Parrish did a little gardening at the Brewer Public Library Wednesday.She’s planting hope in the form of purple irises.Purple is the identifying color of pancreatic cancer.”I was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in June of 2008. I was told six months to live back in June and I was told that here and in Boston, and I was 40 years old at the time of diagnosis and I felt I was a little too young to die,” said Parrish.Parrish found the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.”They were the only ones that gave me hope at the time,” said Parrish. After an aggressive three and a half year battle,”A year and ten months, I’ve been without chemo, and they’re just watching spots,” said Parrish.Now, she’s spreading awareness and support through the Purple Iris Foundation.”Flowers are very near and dear to me, and the purple iris actually means faith, courage , and wisdom, all which I gained through my journey with cancer, so it seemed very fitting,” said Parrish.The “grass roots” efforts for her new initiative are already starting to blossom.”I heard this in the radio the other day, and I put it in the back of my mind that I wanted to stop by, because my daughter has pancreatic cancer,” said Geneva Allen of Hampden.”It’s a hard thing. It’s a hard disease. So, we’re here to support each other. For me, when I would meet people that were surviving it, it was very inspirational, so that’s kind of why we’re doing this, so people can see, you know, you can survive, and we’re all here to help each other,” said Parrish.The hope is that people will see the purple blooms around Maine, and get curious about them.”I hope they ask. I hope they say ‘You have new flowers! They’re beautiful! What is that sign on the building? What does that mean? What is the Purple Iris Foundation?’ I hope they ask, and when they do, I’ll be ready with an answer,” said Donna Rasche, Director at the Brewer Public Library.”Different cancers have a big campaign, and it’s time for purple to be added to that, because people really need to know how deadly it is,” said Parrish.If you’d like to find out more information on the charity, the Purple Iris Foundation is on Facebook..You can also purpleirisfoundation.log on to or call them directly at 989-1100.The foundation will also be participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life in May.


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