Walkers wanted to help end world's deadliest cancer in Houston

KTRK logo
Friday, April 5, 2024
PurpleStride event to be held to raise survival rate of deadly cancer
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will host 60 PurpleStride events in April to help end the world's deadliest cancer, including right here in Houston.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There is power in numbers, especially when thousands of Houstonians stand together against the world's deadliest cancer.

For the third consecutive year, the American Cancer Society reports the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer has climbed, increasing from 12% to 13% in the last year.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network said the new milestone wouldn't be possible without the Bayou City, increasing the urgency of its 2024 PurpleStride Houston walk on Saturday, April 27.

"It provides a certain sense of comfort because you realize you're not alone," J.R. White said. "This is a community of people trying to move this mountain together."

RELATED: Houstonians stand tall in fight against pancreatic cancer at PanCAN PurpleStride

Three years ago, the Houston real estate enthusiast was given just three years to live after his digestive issues turned out to be stage 2 pancreatic cancer.

Afraid but determined, White fought the cancer diagnosis with his wife, Camille, by his side. Today, he's been in remission for two years and is looking forward to his 61st birthday and more traveling.

The Whites have also devoted their lives to spreading the message that the disease can affect anyone, right down to tattooing the pancreatic cancer ribbon on their arms.

PHOTOS: 2023 PanCAN PurpleStride in Houston

1 of 17

While the survival rate keeps rising, an estimated 66,440 Americans will receive a pancreatic cancer diagnosis this year. Nearly 52,000 will die from the disease.

J.R. said there is still more work to be done.

"I don't think, if it's their first time, they're prepared to really see how many people are affected," J.R. said. "This disease, it touches a lot of people, and our turnout at the walk reflects that because a lot of them are spouses, children, neighbors of somebody who they've lost."

PanCAN is hoping to increase its impact by encouraging more of our neighbors to lace up their walking shoes for this year's event.

ABC13 was at Houston Sports Park last year as viewers like you gave more than $323,000 to help bring an end to the disease, far exceeding the organization's $220,000 goal.

"We love purple," Camille White said. "I honestly don't know that I could have gotten through it in order to support him, had I not had the support and resources from PanCAN."

Registration for the walk is free, and you can sign up to participate on your own or form your own team.

The event village at Houston Sports Park will open at 7 a.m. on April 27. The opening ceremony begins at 8 a.m., with the walk stepping off at 8:30 a.m.

Houston Sports Park is located at 12131 Kirby Dr., in southwest Houston.

RELATED: 'He is our superhero': How a mother found strength after her son was diagnosed with leukemia