Runners “Pound the Pavement” in Brewer for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness 

Runners “Pounded the Pavement” in Brewer on Sunday for pancreatic cancer awareness.

The 5k run & walk was the first event of its type for the disease in the state.

Organizing it has been a goal on Christina Parrish’s bucket list.

“I’m a five year survivor and I’m here, so it was time to do something for the state of Maine. It’s the first event for pancreatic cancer in the state of Maine,” said Parrish.

She hopes to build a support network for those effected by the disease with a race like this.

“When I was diagnosed there was nobody I could talk to. Now if people are effected, they have people they can talk to and that to me means the world,” said Parrish.

All of the money raised stays local. It will go to the Purple Iris Foundation, a nonprofit started by Parrish, which raises awareness of the disease and helps raise funds for research.

“Pancreatic cancer, there’s no survivors. Right now, we have four here today and out of 40,000 that get diagnosed, almost 37,000 people die. It’s a very hard to treat, hard to find, hard to detect cancer and usually it’s too late. I was found at stage 4. It was in my liver and pancreas and they have me 6 months to live, so it’s a privilege to be breathing today,” said Parrish.

Event organizers had hoped for at least 100 runners, more than 250 people showed up to the race.

“We ran out of bib numbers and shirts, but people have been amazing and very understanding about not having a bib number. They’re like it’s just for fun, it’s for the cause, and it’s been amazing,” said Amy Badger, co-race director.

“I’m running in honor of my uncle…who died of pancreatic cancer about four years ago. And it’s a very special cause. I just lost my dad a few weeks ago, so this is a really special occasion,” said April Briggs from Eddington.

“I’m a breast cancer survivor for five years. I figure if they find a cure for cancer, no matter what kind of cancer, they’re going to find a cure for breast cancer also, so that’s my hope. The treatments are all the same. The chemo, the radiation, and the emotional part of it, it’s just really draining and it’s just so great to have a such a support team and these things just show how much support somebody can have,” said Patricia Newey from Winterport who also ran in the race.

The race ended messy, but for a good cause as purple powder was thrown on runners. Purple is the color of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness.

“I’m proud and honored to have so many people come out for a great cause…and turn purple too,” said Parrish.

For more information about the Purple Iris Foundation visit their website.