BY TAMARA VON ESTORFF
Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society hosted its annual Light Up The Lake event last Sunday.
Light Up The Lake is a fundraiser that helps raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer. It is held in seven provinces across Canada.
“Pancreatic cancer is presently the fourth-leading cause of all deaths in Canada,” explains event host Stefanie Condon-Oldreive. “It is estimated that by 2020, it will surpass breast cancer and become the third-leading cause of death,” she said. “It is receiving less than 2 per cent of cancer funding and it is often viewed as the orphan of cancer.”
More than 100 Burlington residents gathered at the Art Gallery of Burlington to participate in the 5K run along the Spencer Smith Park Christmas light displays. Families dressed up in their craziest purple outfits and waved their batons as they sprinted along the route, the crowd cheering loudly as each of them crossed the finish line.
“Our goal as a team to is raise $10,000 in each of the seven provinces, and Ontario has always been pretty close to reaching that.” says Condon-Oldrieve. “We want to give patients and caregivers the opportunity to come together, and all of the funds will go supporting patient-care brands.”
Condon-Oldrieve became the founder and director of Craig’s Cause Cancer Society in 2006 when her father passed away at the age of 63, just eight weeks after he was diagnosed.
“His story is by far not the only one where patients live such a short time after a diagnosis,” she says. “Over 50 per cent of our population will only survive three to nine months, and only 8% will survive a pancreatic cancer diagnosis,” she said. “That means 92 per cent of people who get diagnosed will die within the first couple of years.”
Condon-Oldrieve believes that in order to make a change, people need to take pancreatic cancer care more seriously.
“People are still trying to digest the news of pancreatic cancer, and they’re fighting for their lives trying to get treatment,” she says. “Many patients are being told to go home and get their affairs in order, but every patient has the right to individualized treatment and care.”
As for the committee’s long-term goals, Condon-Oldrieve says it is hoping to grow and expand across Canada.
“We would of course like to see it grow in participation and fundraising,” she says. “We’d like to see this run get up to about 500 runners and also increase funds for Ontario,” she said. “The money raised in Ontario stays in Ontario, and we’re very proud of that.”
For more information on news, upcoming events, and donations, visit Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society website.