Park-goers at Goddard Memorial Park in Warwick were greeted by a sea of purple t-shirts on Sunday, as over a thousand Rhode Islanders and people from surrounding communities came together with one thing on their mind:
Find a cure for pancreatic cancer.
"There's a survival rate of just over six percent, and that hasn't changed in 40 years," said Kim Trupiano, a representative for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "You have these people who are passing away from this disease, and only two percent of the National Cancer Institute's funding goes towards helping us. We need to change that."
Individuals and families came together Sunday morning to send that message to people who may not know about pancreatic cancer, and to remember friends and family members who passed away due to the disease.
With a five-year survival rate of six percent, pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates out of the various forms of cancer, and is the fourth leading cancer killer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Pancreatic Cancer Survivor "Big John" Sawyer was at the walk with his wife and niece, who came to support him. He was of the few to be wearing a sash that indicated he was one of the six percent.
On the sash was the word "survivor".
"My doctor is 95% sure that it's 100% cured, but I'm one of the few," Sawyer said.
The 5K walk was planned entirely by local volunteers.