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Lisa Niemi Swayze, Eric Idle, Miss America Madison Marsh, Family of the late Jerry Springer, Team “Trek”, Little House on the Prairie Cast, Rosario Dawson, Among the Notable Participants Who Raised Awareness, Critical Funds for One of the Toughest Cancers

Select Celebrity Photos can be found HERE

LOS ANGELES, April 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — This past Saturday, April 27, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) held its largest annual fundraiser, PanCAN PurpleStride®, the ultimate walk to end pancreatic cancer. For the third year in a row, PurpleStride took place nationwide across nearly 60 cities as survivors, supporters, celebrities and special guests walked in solidarity to raise awareness and much-needed funds for pancreatic cancer, one of the world’s deadliest forms of cancer. It is the number one way PanCAN raises funds to fuel its mission and the dollars raised change the lives of people facing pancreatic cancer and advance progress against the disease. Nearly 70,000 people were expected to attend across the country with a goal of raising $19 million towards fighting the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States with a five-year survival rate of just 13%. With no standard early detection test and few effective treatment options, there continues to be an urgent need to increase funding, research, and awareness to improve outcomes for people with pancreatic cancer. Coast to coast, the pancreatic cancer community came together to raise awareness and funding for this disease.

“All of you here today are making a difference. Just as I chose to get involved 24 years ago, you, too, are making a choice to get involved and to fight back,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO, PanCAN at PurpleStride New York City’s opening ceremony. “With your support, PanCAN will continue to raise awareness, invest in critical research, provide free services to patients and their families, and accelerate progress through advocacy.”

A number of notable celebrities and special guests showed up to walk and support PanCAN’s mission in cities across the country:

At PurpleStride New York City, Miss America Madison Marsh, the first active-duty service member to win the coveted crown, shared her personal story during the opening ceremony and rallied the crowd. “Pancreatic cancer is a tough disease. There is no time or money to waste on pancreatic cancer. People need change now. We need more money going to pancreatic cancer research now. We need people who are ready to rally behind others. Together with PanCAN, we can all make a difference. Every penny. Every second counts for patients,” said Madison Marsh at the event’s opening ceremony.

At PurpleStride Los Angeles, Lisa Niemi Swayze, longtime PanCAN ambassador and wife of the late Patrick Swayze who passed from pancreatic cancer in 2009, spoke at this year’s opening ceremony. “I am here today at PanCAN PurpleStride because my late husband, Patrick Swayze, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007 and passed away just 22 months later. He fought so valiantly, heroically, and I know there are many people that are fighting today. I know how they feel. I know how important it is,” said Lisa Niemi Swayze to the more than 3,000 participants. “But just because he’s gone, it doesn’t mean the fight is over. Through our efforts today, raising funds and raising awareness, and advocating for the federal government to invest more in pancreatic cancer research, we’re going to beat this disease.”

“Star Trek” actor Kitty Swink, a 20-year pancreatic cancer survivor; Armin Shimerman, John Billingsley, Juan Carlos Coto and Jonathan Frakes, who lost his brother to the disease – all members of the fundraising team “Trek Against Pancreatic Cancer” walked; Eric Idle, British comedian, actor and author, and a four-year pancreatic cancer survivor participated; and Leslie Landon Matthews and Shawna Landon, whose father, Michael Landon, passed away the disease nearly 33 years ago, participated as Team Little House on the Prairie for the first time, in honor of the late actor/director of the iconic show which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

At PurpleStride Chicago, Katie Yenkin, daughter of the late Jerry Springer, spoke at the opening ceremony and shared about her father who passed away from pancreatic cancer on April 27th – the one-year anniversary of his passing. She and her family formed Team Jerry in honor of her father and walked for the first time at PanCAN PurpleStride Chicago.

At PurpleStride D.C., actor Rosario Dawson walked in honor of her father who is currently battling pancreatic cancer.

Progress is being made in the pancreatic cancer community. In January, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer reached a new all-time high of 13%, an increase of one percentage point from last year. This is the first time since 2017 that the survival rate has increased for three consecutive years, a promising upward trend in the fight against this tough disease. However, pancreatic cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. and is on track to become the second leading cause.

Donations can still be made by visiting For more information on the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its urgent mission to save lives, visit or follow PanCAN on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) leads the way in accelerating critical progress for pancreatic cancer patients. PanCAN takes bold action by funding life-saving research, providing personalized patient services and creating a community of supporters and volunteers who will stop at nothing to create a world in which all pancreatic cancer patients will thrive. For 18 years in a row, PanCAN has earned a Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator – the highest rating an organization can receive. This rating designates PanCAN as an official “Give with Confidence” charity, indicating strong financial health, ongoing accountability and transparency.

Media Contact:
PanCAN at Smithhouse Strategy
[email protected] 

SOURCE Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Originally published at
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