Boston walkers Unite to Fight pancreatic cancer

Julie Weiss, 42, of Santa Monica, Cali. finishing the final mile of her 52-marathon challenge. Photo credit: Rodger Morante
Julie Weiss, 42, of Santa Monica, Cali. finishing the final mile of her 52-marathon challenge. Photo credit: Rodger Morante

After losing her father in 2010 to a short but valiant battle with pancreatic cancer, a California runner turned Marathon Goddess is pushing forward with her effort to fight the destructive disease. 

“There is no early detection method out there, that’s why it’s so devastating,” said Julie Weiss, 42, who will lead the Boston Scientific team at Saturday’s Unite to Fight Pancreatic Cancer walk. “You don’t even have a fighting chance. So we’re all coming together to spread an abundance of awareness and hopefully make a difference.”

Hosted by The Lustgarten Foundation and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the walk will bring together businesses, organizations, individuals and families impacted by the disease to raise $400,000 and spread the word about early detection of pancreatic cancer.

The event kicks off at 10 a.m. at Mother’s Rest Park in South Boston. About 1,500 walkers were registered for the event as of deadline Thursday, however more were expected to sign up by Saturday.

“For me it’s a very personal matter,” said Boston Scientific employee Derrick Lenz, who has lost loved ones to pancreatic cancer. Unlike his grandfather, his father was diagnosed relatively early, and was able to survive for three years before succumbing to the disease.

“That time was pretty meaningful for me and our family,” said Lenz, who will walk alongside Weiss at Saturday’s event.

According to The Lustgarten Foundation, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and is estimated to become the second leading cause of death by the year 2020.

There are 44,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Genetic or hereditary causes of pancreatic cancer account for only 5-10 percent of cases. Only 6 percent of people have a survival rate of more than five years.

The risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases sharply after age 50, and long-term smoking cessation of at least 10 years reduces the risk by about 30 percent compared to the risk to current smokers.

“This really brings a face to this disease. It’s about saving these people. Giving everyone a chance,” said Weiss, who ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks — between March 2012 and March 2013 — to raise money for the cause. So far she has netted nearly $200,000, but she hopes to raise as much as $1 million.

“I did something dramatic, but people don’t have to run to make a difference. Make a donation or spread awareness,” said Weiss. “We are really in this fight together.”

Visit unite2fightpc.org to donate and register to walk.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

Local

Tsarnaev defense lawyers in court Wednesday, seek family…

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are due in court Wednesday to ask a judge to order prosecutors to hand over more information on the defendant's family.

National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.