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Peep the purple: Why the color is common in November

WISH-TV reporter Scott Sander wears purple in memory of his mother. (WISH-TV photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Expect to see more purple than usual around central Indiana for the next several weeks. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and purple is the color designated as a way to raise awareness about the disease and the fight against it.

The color choice dates back to the cancer fight of Rose Schneider. Her family says Schneider died in 1996, a mere six months after her diagnosis. That short timeline is painfully typical of those who develop pancreatic cancer; Johns Hopkins University reports only 5% to 10% of patients survive 5 years. For most patients, life expectancies are in the months rather than years.

Rose Schneider’s daughter, Pamela Acosta Marquardt, founded the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan). It has since become the largest organization dedicated to fighting the disease and increasing survival rates through research while helping patients and their families with their own difficult journeys.

In Indianapolis, there will be several opportunities to participate in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month:

  • Sunday, Nov. 12 at 4 p.m.: PurpleLight at the Cancer Support Community Center on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The event aims to bring together people who have felt the impact of pancreatic cancer and pay tribute to loved ones lost. PanCan says all are welcome to attend.
  • Thursday, Nov. 16: World Pancreatic Cancer Day is Nov. 16. To mark the occasion, AES plans to light up its building on Monument Circle in purple.
  • Thursday, Nov. 16: PanCan also plans a virtual event to share the latest strategies about early detection, long seen as possibly the most critical step in increasing survival chances.

PurpleStride, PanCan’s largest annual event, happens outside of November. PurpleStride is on the last Saturday of April. Indianapolis and dozens of other major cities host run/walks to raise money for research and support. They also invite survivors and those who are still fighting the disease to attend, inspiring others to “wage hope.”