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Pancreatic cancer walk hopes to benefit from national conversation

Pancreatic cancer has spent time in the national spot light lately, especially with Alex Trebek talking very openly about his own stage four diagnosis and battle.

The extra awareness is giving hope to people in the Tri-States.

Over a hundred came out in Hannibal to walk and fight the disease at the 4th annual Pancreatic Cancer Walk Saturday.

“The survival rate is very low, 3 months maximum usually, so I’m very blessed to be here,” Kristine Wilson said.

Wilson survived her own diagnosis back in 2015.

“So I want to raise awareness and let people know we need to raise funds for it so we can have tools to prevent this from happening,” said Wilson.

But organizers said success stories like Wilson’s are rare, which is why they’re using events like these to not only raise funds for research but also awareness.

“My grandpa passed away from pancreatic cancer about 5 years ago,” said Erin Hedges, explaining how that’s part of why she puts together the walk each year.

“The problem with pancreatic cancer is you don’t know you have it until you have it, there aren’t any symptoms that lead directly to it, it’s like jaundice, back pain, abdominal pain,” said Hedges.

She went on to say that’s why they help raise money for the Lustgarten Foundation, which she said pays for around 66 percent of all of the research for pancreatic cancer, which is just three percent of funding for cancer research in general.

That small percentage is why they’re hoping to get more people to know about the disease.

“Hopefully just talking more about Alex Trebek being open about his battle can bring more people”, said Hedges.

To encourage people to get checked, to make stories like Wilson’s more common.

“I’d like to thank Erin for starting the walk here in Hannibal, we’ve had a really big turn out from the community and I appreciate that,” said Wilson.

Hedges said they aim to raise $17,000 locally this year.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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