Researchers making headway in battle against pancreatic cancer

Purple Stride Walk funds research, support programs

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla – When Ulin Wright was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014 she was overcome with fear.
"I was lost for about two weeks.  It was as if I wasn't on this earth," she said.
Michael Fitzpatrick was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer 20 years ago and battled a recurrence in 2018. 
Every year, he takes part in a nationwide fundraising effort called The Purple Stride Walk.
"If I can just raise hope; it's not about me. It's about people who are out there suffering, going through chemotherapy and radiation who can't get out of bed, and I walk for them," he said.
The money raised from the walk helps fund research and special support programs offered by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
"Patient central department is a department where once they get diagnosed they can find information about their diagnosis, where they can get clinical trials.  This department basically guides them all the way through their treatments," said Carlos Ayala, Director of the Broward-Palm Beach Chapter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
When it comes to treatment options, pancreatic cancer specialist Dr. Robert Donoway said there is hope on the horizon with the discovery of a potential drug candidate that could interfere with the growth and spread of the cancer.
"This is changing what we call the new paradigm with pancreatic cancer.  This is a less pessimistic view.  Now we're going to be able to offer new treatment options that we call targeted therapies," said Donoway.
Pancreatic cancer currently has one of the lowest survival rates, but patients like Wright hope that advancements in medicine will improve the odds.
"If you could help someone live as long as I'm living, I think that would be worthwhile," she said.
The annual Purple Stride Walk to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Research will be held Saturday Nov. 17, 2019, at Florida Atlantic University, 777 
Glades Road, Boca Raton, Florida.
To register go to:

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.