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Newcastle turning purple for a worthy cause

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Newcastle is set to turn purple again this month when residents are asked to “Put Your Foot Down” for a worthy cause.

PanKind, the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, will host its second annual 4km family and dog-friendly walk at Stockton’s Griffith Park, from 8.30am, on Sunday 10 September.

There, they’ll raise awareness of the disease, which is now the third biggest cancer killer of Australians.

For local organiser Marie Sams, the event’s especially close to her heart.

The John Hunter Hospital nurse lost her beloved mother Lucy to the disease in March 2022.

“Pancreatic cancer touched my life profoundly,” she said.

“Mum courageously battled the disease for 17 months before she passed away.

“My sister and I stood by her side.

“We supported her through five different intensive chemotherapy treatments and a major surgery in the fight against this insidious disease.

“I now walk to honour my mother and the unwavering strength she showed.

“I’m also walking for the fighters currently battling this disease and the families who tirelessly care for them.

“It’s a journey no one should face alone.

“By walking together, we make a powerful statement – turning pancreatic cancer from a devastating diagnosis into a story of survival.”

The Put Your Foot Down Newcastle walk will see the Hunter community unite and dress passionately in the cause colour purple, while raising much-needed funds for research to help triple the survival rate by 2030.

Since 2008, more than $2 million has been amassed from the events, which take place in seven cities across the nation.

Pancreatic cancer has a devastatingly low five-year survival rate of only 12.2%, which drops to 6% in rural and regional areas.

In 2022, the disease claimed almost as many lives as breast cancer.

It boasts the lowest survival rate of all main cancer types.

More than 4,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and 80% of patients will die within 12 months.

It’s a statistic PanKind CEO Michelle Stewart wants to change.

“Pancreatic cancer survival rates remain unacceptably poor at just over 12%… and it is fast becoming the cancer of our generation,” she said.

“It is a devastating disease and, even with the dire figures, funding for research is still too low.

“The Put Your Foot Down walks provide an important forum for patients, their families and the broader community to unite for greater impact.

“It aids us to advocate for more focus and funding, too.

“So, we are delighted to return to Newcastle for our second annual walk, which also offers an opportunity to campaign for better outcomes for patients.”

More details about the event including registration, can be found at https://newcastle.putyourfootdown.org.au/

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