Lisa Niemi Swayze speaking on stage at PanCAN PurpleStride

“Little House On the Prairie” Cast and Family Join in Honor of the Late Michael Landon, “Star Trek’s” Team Returns and Family of the Late Jerry Springer Support PanCAN on the First Anniversary of His Passing

PanCAN PurpleStride Takes Place in Nearly 60 Communities Nationwide on April 27, 2024 – Learn More and Register HERE

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 3, 2024) -- Today, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) announced the participating celebrities who will be lending their voices to this year’s PanCAN PurpleStride, the ultimate walk to end pancreatic cancer. PurpleStride will take place nationwide in nearly 60 communities on one big day, April 27, 2024, as survivors, supporters, celebrities and special guests walk in solidarity to raise awareness and much-needed funds for pancreatic cancer, one of the world’s deadliest forms of cancer.

PanCAN PurpleStride is PanCAN’s biggest fundraising event of the year. The dollars raised directly impact the lives of people facing pancreatic cancer and advance critical progress against the disease. Earlier this year it was announced that the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer increased to 13%, steadily growing from 7% over the past decade. Along with the low survival rate, no standard early detection test and few effective treatment options, there continues to be an urgent need to increase funding, research and awareness to improve outcomes for those affected by the disease.

The celebrities participating in this year’s PanCAN PurpleStride include:

  • Lisa Swayze, writer, director, actress, dancer and wife of the late actor Patrick Swayze, who passed from pancreatic cancer. Lisa will speak at the opening ceremony at PurpleStride LA aiming to inspire hope for other caregivers dealing with their loved ones’ diagnoses.
  • The late Jerry Springer’s daughter, Katie Yenkin, created “Team Jerry,” in honor of her father who passed from pancreatic cancer on April 27, 2023, just weeks after his diagnosis. Katie will speak at PurpleStride Chicago on the first anniversary of his passing.
  • Leading the charge for team “Trek Against Pancreatic Cancer” are Jonathan Frakes (“Picard,” “Star Trek: Strange New World” Season 2), Armin Shimerman (“Deep Space Nine”), the inspiring Kitty Swink, a 20-year pancreatic cancer survivor from “Deep Space Nine,” John Billingsley (“Star Trek: Enterprise”) and Juan Carlos Coto (Executive Producer, ABC’s “9-1-1”), who lost his brother, “Star Trek Enterprise” Executive Producer Manny Coto, to the disease. This dedicated team is boldly going where they’ve gone before: participating in their fourth PanCAN PurpleStride!
  • Team Little House on the Prairie,” honoring the late Michael Landon, includes Michael’s friends, family, and cast members including Leslie Landon Matthews, Dean Butler, and Michael Landon Jr.
  • Miss America Madison Marsh, the first active-duty service member to win the coveted crown, is fueled by a personal mission and will bring her powerful story to PurpleStride New York City. Remembering her mother, Whitney, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2018, Marsh will join PurpleStride NYC as a featured speaker.

Lisa Niemi Swayze has long been a supporter and advocate of PanCAN. “Patrick’s passing to pancreatic cancer at 57, just 22 months after diagnosis, was devastating,” said Niemi Swayze. “But his fight lives on. That’s why I’m back with PanCAN, raising awareness for this cruel disease. Early detection is difficult; symptoms are vague and there is no standard test for early detection. We need to change that. Every PurpleStride, every dollar we raise, brings us closer to a cure.”

“As Miss America, I have a platform to shine a light on important causes,” said Marsh. “Pancreatic cancer took my mom from us far too soon, and that’s why I’m so proud to be a part of PanCAN PurpleStride. Together, we can raise awareness, fund research, and fight for a future where this disease doesn’t take any more lives.”

“I am so grateful to Lisa Niemi Swayze, Madison Marsh, the Star Trek team, and everyone who is participating in PanCAN PurpleStride,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of PanCAN. “Pancreatic cancer does not discriminate and PanCAN PurpleStride gives everyone affected by this disease the opportunity to make an impact through greater awareness and fundraising.”

Notable individuals who have passed in recent years from the disease include “JEOPARDY!” host Alex Trebek, talk show host, Jerry Springer, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and U.S. Representative John Lewis.

For more information on the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its urgent mission to save lives, visit or follow PanCAN on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) leads the way in accelerating critical progress for pancreatic cancer patients. PanCAN takes bold action by funding life-saving research, providing personalized patient services and creating a community of supporters and volunteers who will stop at nothing to create a world in which all pancreatic cancer patients will thrive. For 18 years in a row, PanCAN has earned a Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator – the highest rating an organization can receive. This rating designates PanCAN as an official “Give with Confidence” charity, indicating strong financial health, ongoing accountability and transparency.


Media Contacts:

Stephanie Berman, Vice President, Smithhouse Strategy
Direct: 917-617-5667, Email:

Julie Vasquez, Senior Director, Public Relations, PanCAN
Direct: 310-697-9129, Email: