Team Pillars for Patti at PurpleStride Omaha

Team Pillars for Patti at PurpleStride Omaha

My mom, Patti Swoboda, an otherwise healthy 54-year old woman, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just before Christmas in 2012. When we found out about her diagnosis, we were absolutely devastated. I immediately jumped on the computer and started researching, trying to learn more about the disease.

The more I read, the more devastated I became. Let’s just say, her chances were not very good and were very worried that it would be our last Christmas with her.

During this time, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network was a lifeline for our family.

Patient Services helped me research the best doctors and to find out what we needed to know when choosing a surgeon. I also participated in the Survivor Caregiver Network that connected me with others in the same situation. I was able to email them and find support. Patient Services also helped us search for clinical trials in our area.

In January 2013, my mom had her entire pancreas removed, instantly making her a diabetic. The recovery was grueling, but I am beyond happy to report that over four years later, she remains CANCER FREE!  It’s an amazing and very rare story with this deadly disease.

No amount of money can save you from this cancer.

What money CAN do is help find treatment options for patient – and that has been my mission since mom was diagnosed. We had some exciting news this year – the 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer has increased to percent after flat-lining at 5 percent for decades.

It’s amazing and tangible evidence that all this fundraising we do every year really DOES make a difference!

This is our family’s fifth time participating in PurpleStride. . We became involved with the event  shortly after Mom’s diagnosis. I initially attended an affiliate meeting hoping to find support, but it turned into us forming a team for the walk and we have done so every year since.

We want to help fund PanCAN so they can help others in the same situation, and help fund research that will kick this ugly disease to the curb once and for all!

I hope Mom’s story gives some Hope, peace & comfort to others affected by pancreatic cancer. I remember scouring the internet for survival stories and, sadly, I think I was able to find one at the time.

My mom is living proof that this disease CAN be beat. The survival rate will only continue to go up from here, because of the commitment of wonderful organizations like the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.