Pancreatic Cancer: Know it. Fight it. End it.

Today I walked with Team WKRP (in memory of Bill Priestley, a community friend) at the PurpleStride Rhode Island event for pancreatic cancer, and I made the decision to have my 6-year old daughter and 4-year old son walk with me.  At first they were a bit resistant to waking up early and having to exert energy, but after they saw the event in action they were excited to be a part of it and enjoyed it!  I was initially planning on running it by myself, but when I heard others were bringing their kids, I realized this could be a great learning experience for them.

The weather held out, and the race started after the introductions and speeches were made (Allison Alexander  former ABC News Anchor was the emcee for the event – she walked in the race with her family as well)!

My daughter was able to walk most of the way (a couple quick wagon breaks along the way), but my son was pulled by myself and some others the entire race.  He was in a wagon decked out with signs for our friend, Bill Priestley.

We saw the Priestley family there walking for their husband/father, who just passed away April 8, 2011.  He battled pancreatic cancer for 18 months, and he leaves behind a beautiful wife and four wonderful kids (all ages 6 and under).  His wife, Kinda, has a wonderful supportive network of friends in East Greenwich, RI and many were at the race (Team WKRP and Team Priestley from Edwards and Angell, the law firm Bill worked for before he got ill).  It was nice to see these groups, as well as many other large groups out for people in the community (another being the group from Happy Hearts Preschool, walking for the owner’s husband who is currently battling pancreatic cancer).

Pancreatic cancer is a hard illness to overcome (survival rate is currently about 4.6%), and it is nice to see people out raising money for research to help find a cure and to learn more about the disease to help increase the survival rate.  After the 5K was finished and we were on our way home, my daughter said, “It was nice all those people gave money and helped out people that are sick.”  I am very proud of her for saying that, and I realized that the decision to bring my kids along was a good decision after all.  They did learn from it, and it was a great experience for them to see the community coming together to support a cause and to support loved ones, both battling pancreatic cancer and those that have passed away from the disease.  Please visit the PurpleStride Rhode Island site to donate money, or consider donating to the Priestley Children’s Education Fund, which can be sent to The Law Office of Joseph A. Priestley, Jr., 85 Beach Street, Westerly, RI 02891.

* Have you included your children in community events for raising money and awareness?  What lessons did your children learn?

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Kristin Wheeler