Know It. Fight It. End it.

Everyone needs a hero.

In the case of my friend Kirk, his dad Steve is his hero.

A lifetime resident of Colorado, Steve  has lived an active life as an entrepreneur, volunteer firefighter, award-winning jeweler, stained glass artisan,  adoring father, loving husband and proud grandfather. Nothing's ever stopped Steve from living life to the fullest. Not prostate cancer. Nor a broken back. 

Steve and his awesome wife Bonnie are legend in the town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Their business, originally started by Steve's parents, has been a part of the Cripple Creek economy for over 108 years.

Life was good for Steve and Bonnie.

The night before they were scheduled to leave on a cruise to Italy, Steve was hospitalized. The diagnosis? Pancreatic cancer.

According to Wikipedia :

Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer typically have a poor prognosis partly because the cancer usually causes no symptoms early on, leading to locally advanced or metastatic disease at time of diagnosis. Median survival from diagnosis is around 3 to 6 months; 5-year survival is less than 5%.[52] With 37,170 cases diagnosed in the United States in 2007, and 33,700 deaths, pancreatic cancer has one of the highest fatality rates of all cancers and is the fourth highest cancer killer in the United States among both men and women. Although it accounts for only 2.5% of new cases, pancreatic cancer is responsible for 6% of cancer deaths each year.

5-year survival is less than 5%. Five percent.

You don't see Pancreatic cancer coming.There's no vaccincation you can take for Pancreatic Cancer. It doesn't announce itself until it's almost too late. And often when it is too late. It's ugly, swift and merciless. And usually fatal. 

When Steve received his diagnosis, he vowed to fight the disease with everything he had. He endured chemo, surgeries, more chemo and all the horrible side-effects involved with battling this particularly gruesome type of cancer. He's fought hard and strong and so far he's winning his fight. It's been an uphill battle all the way.

So why I am writing about Steve's story? And why am I sharing it with you?

For two reasons.

#1 - Steve is a hero. An honest-to-goodness American hero. He's not backing down even when the odds are against him. I wanted to put a face to the name of this hero and a face to the legion of Pancreatic cancer fighters...and survivors.

#2 - You can help Steve and everyone that battles Pancreatic Cancer. It's simple. It's easy. It won't cost money. It will only take several minutes of your time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 is the Fourth Annual Pancreatic Cancer Call-In Day

What is the National Call-In? 
The National Call-in is an opportunity for all Pancreatic Cancer Action Network supporters across the country to join together and with one voice to tell Congress that while you can't attend Advocacy Day in person, you believe that the time has come for Congress to take action on pancreatic cancer! 

How does it work? 
On Monday, June 21st, 2010, you will receive an email with instructions on how to place the calls to your Representative and your two Senators. The email will include their office phone numbers, and what we'd like for you to say. The calls should take less than 10 minutes of your time, but they will significantly impact our efforts to make the pancreatic cancer community heard. make sure that you receive an email for the National Call-In, please enter your email address here. The information will also be available on June 22nd. 

Why do we call in?

"Pancreatic cancer gets by far the LEAST research funding from the National Cancer Institute among the five most lethal malignancies" (source)

Since 95% of Pancreatic Cancer patients don't survive, there aren't many patients left to advocate.

This week, Steve and Bonnie are doing just that. They're in Washington, D.C. for the Pancreatic Cancer Network Advocacy Day to make their voices heard. Steve had round 21 of chemo right before he left for Washington. 

For all Steve's gone through...for all his family has gone through...for what other families are going through right now.

The cure starts with a call. 

Please take a moment to Facebook/Blog/Tweet or email your family and friends. Get this message out to everyone that has a phone.

You have the power to help. You have the power to be a hero.

Please be a hero.