TEAMHOPE runs to raise funds to fight pancreatic cancerEight years ago, Jenny Falk’s stepfather-in-law, Steve Ruberg, went to the hospital with stomach pains. After a series of tests, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died just four months later.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
Eight years ago, Jenny Falk’s stepfather-in-law, Steve Ruberg, went to the hospital with stomach pains. After a series of tests, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died just four months later.
“That was the first that I had heard about (pancreatic cancer),” Falk said.
Four years later, pancreatic cancer struck again. This time, Falk’s aunt Carole Hahn was diagnosed. Like Ruberg, Hahn lived just four months past her diagnosis.
Four months after burying Hahn, Falk’s mom Bev Bright started having flu-like symptoms. After being shuffled among doctors and specialists for weeks, Bright heard two all-too-familiar words to explain her pain: pancreatic cancer. Bright was diagnosed early and lived for a year and a half, but she succumbed to the disease in April of 2012.
“Pancreatic cancer has taken so much from my family,” Falk said. During her aunt’s illness, she discovered that her great-grandmother had also been afflicted with pancreatic cancer.
After her mom’s diagnosis, Falk and her mom started attending Pancreatic Cancer Action Network meetings. The network offers support to families and patients and raises money for research and advocacy to find a cure for the disease.
“It was very important to my mom that I stay involved with them even after she was gone,” Falk said, and so she has.
This year, she’s the coordinator for the Twin Cities affiliate of TEAMHOPE. Over 150 runners are gearing up for the races this weekend and have been fundraising all year for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Within that group, 30 runners from the Two Harbors area gathered to make a team of their own. They call it “ Go Big or Go Home.”
The Go Big or Go Home team has raised over $12,000 and the entire Grandma’s Marathon TEAMHOPE contingent has raised over $85,000.
“It’s been great. People are just so excited to help out,” Falk said. “In our small little community, everyone comes together.”
Falk is running the half marathon—her first ever. She said many of the TEAMHOPE participants will be running their first race this weekend, all to help fight pancreatic cancer. Keep an eye out for the purple shirts emblazoned with TEAMHOPE.
“It’s inspired people to take that step to do something they’ve never done before,” Falk said.
Donations to TEAMHOPE will be accepted through the end of the year. Find them at www.pancan.org/teamhope.