INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Downtown’s White River State Park was covered in purple Saturday morning as more than 1,000 people gathered to walk in the annual PurpleStride 5K event.
The event is supported by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) of Indianapolis. Their mission is to save lives and double the current five-year pancreatic cancer survival rate of 9%.
It was a wet start to the morning on Saturday.
But that didn’t stop volunteers, pancreatic cancer survivors and supporters from kicking off the event with a pre-walk warm up filled with jumping jacks and stretches.
Festivities continued with an opening ceremony emceed by WISH TV’s Scott Sander.
The walk kicked off at 9:30 a.m. in front of Celebration Plaza.
Many participants had personal reasons for choosing to walk in Saturday’s event.
Cancer survivor Steve Smith was celebrating one year of being in remission after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer nearly three years ago. He told News 8 he noticed jaundice in his eyes while on a business trip and immediately went to the doctor where he received the news.
Smith said it was hard, but with the support of PanCAN and his family, he got through it.
“PanCAN has been so wonderful to my family and me as we went through the process of fighting the cancer,” said Steve Smith. “It’s just wonderful to get together and celebrate those who survived the disease and those that are helping improve the odds of the disease.”
PanCAN media chair Deana Potterf told News 8 she has volunteered for PurpleStride every year since losing her father to the deadly disease.
She now advocates for the families of cancer patients.
Saturday’s event raised more than $200,000 for pancreatic cancer research and patient services.
To learn more about PurpleStride and to join in the fight against Pancreatic Cancer, click here.