Teenager and his mother take a selfie at PurpleStride LA walk to end pancreatic cancer

Brennan with mom, Julia Tominaga

Though just a kindergartener at the time, now teenager Brennan Tominaga still remembers the loss of his Uncle Curt to pancreatic cancer. As he gears up for PurpleStride Los Angeles 2019 on May 4, Brennan shares with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) some of his favorite moments that mattered to him as a long-time passionate volunteer and fundraiser for the cause.

Young boy smiles with PanCAN founder at 5k walk to end pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles

Brennan with Pamela Acosta Marquardt, founder of PanCAN, at PurpleStride Los Angeles 2012

Brennan and his Uncle Curt enjoyed a love for dirt bike riding, often without his mom, Julia Tominaga, knowing. He recalls a vivid memory of the excitement he and his uncle shared when Brennan got his first dirt bike at only 5 years old. Since then, he has put that fearlessness into his fight against pancreatic cancer.

Over the years of fundraising for PanCAN, Brennan has been a top fundraiser for Team Purple Reign at PurpleStride Los Angeles, raising over $2,100 in two years. He enjoys fundraising because he knows the money he raises will bring us closer to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.

When asked about his most successful fundraiser, Brennan urges that staying true to who you are will have the best results. “I think the year that I raised the most money, my mom had me write a short story to upload to my PurpleStride fundraising page. People knew that I wrote it because it had a typo,” he admits.

Teenage fundraiser stands with pancreatic cancer survivor and her husband at PurpleStride walk

Brennan poses with pancreatic cancer survivor, Roberta Luna, and husband, Vic Luna

His advice on how to be a top PurpleStride fundraiser is easy – share your story on your personal PurpleStride page, and use pictures! Others love to see why fellow striders participate.

Sharing your true self, your story, and why you are passionate about raising money to end pancreatic cancer will resonate with others who are fighting a similar battle.

One of Brennan’s favorite memories at PurpleStride, the walk to end pancreatic cancer, was being “amazed at how many people were there. All the purple!” It showed him just how strong the pancreatic cancer community is.

Teen fundraises with other striders in costume at PurpleStride walk to end pancreatic cancer

Brennan enjoys coming back for the fun at PurpleStride Los Angeles each year

Now Brennan’s goal is to get more and more people to join the cause each year to grow the community of awareness and raise funds to end this deadly disease.

His mother Julia, who is a staff member at the national PanCAN office, is proud of her son’s dedication to the cause. When her brother, Curt, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2008, Brennan was too young to fully understand the power of his fundraising.

But now, as a teenager, he knows the impact that he is making year after year and wants to encourage more people his age to get involved. Julia and Brennan’s hope is to get more children involved so they understand that they have the capacity to change the future of this disease.

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Help spread awareness about pancreatic cancer in your community by joining your local PurpleStride.