October 2, 2017
Halifax, NS – Members of Mount Allison University's football team will be tackling more than their opponents on the field when they head into a game Saturday, October 7th with St. Francis Xavier University.
The Mount Allison Mounties are taking part in Atlantic Canada's first #tacklepancreaticcancer initiative, and are encouraging the whole stadium in Sackville, NB to score against pancreatic cancer by wearing purple, bringing a donation and getting ready to cheer.
Matthew Zwicker, a recent Mount Allison graduate and Offensive Lineman for the Mounties, developed #tacklepancreaticcancer. The goal of the event, hosted by Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society, is to increase pancreatic cancer awareness and raise much needed funds for pancreatic cancer research, while inspiring the next generation to become social activists for a cancer that has little support.
Zwicker, a health and safety adviser for Terrapure Environmental, was inspired to make a difference in the world of pancreatic cancer awareness, education, support and research after his father was diagnosed.
Darren Zwicker, 49 was diagnosed January 9th, 2017 with pancreatic cancer and has undergone extensive treatment.
His son knows all too well the impact a pancreatic cancer diagnosis has on both the patient and family.
“When my family heard about the diagnosis there were really no positives to hold on to. Obviously, the positivity and strength of my dad has been incredibly admirable, but other than that there was a significant lack of support in the medical field. The reality is that there is a lack of funding, research, and awareness for pancreatic cancer. If you are not able to get surgery, the disease is essentially palliative. With such a low standard of care, we had to act fast… this is something that needs to change in the Canadian health care system.”
Sadly, the shock of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis experienced by the Zwicker family continues to play out every year for many other families in this region, and across the country.
Pancreatic cancer is projected to soon become the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths, surpassing those caused by breast cancer. About 5,500 people in the country are expected to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017, and 4,800 are expected to die from the disease, the latest statistics show.
Only about half of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive more than four months. About seven percent of men, and eight percent of women are alive five years after diagnosis, according to Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017.
This year, the annual report - produced by the Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and provincial/territorial cancer registries - includes a chapter focusing on the challenges of pancreatic cancer.
Between 1992, and 2012, advances in treatment have resulted in small improvements to pancreatic cancer survival rates for men, but on average have only extended life by a few months. Death rates for women with pancreatic cancer have not changed.
"Over 60 percent of pancreatic cancers are diagnosed at Stage 3, or 4, stages at which curative treatment options are limited,' the report states.
"The high percentage of pancreatic cancers diagnosed at a late stage underscores the need for better early detection strategies."
“This initiative not only holds a special place in my heart, but should hold a special place for all Canadians. With such high death rates, this disease leaves thousands of Canadians with nowhere to turn. We have been able to offer an event where 100% of the donations go directly into improving the situation for future Canadians who are diagnosed. This is why it is so important to join the #tacklepancreaticcancer cause” Zwicker states.
Zwicker goes on to highlight that ‘’it is very important that people understand where their dollars are going and the impact their dollars make. Little funding for a cancer which is projected to take more lives than breast cancer does not make sense."
Saturday's event gets underway at 2 p.m.
Matthew Zwicker, Darren Zwicker and Stefanie Condon-Oldreive, founder of Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society, will be available for interviews and photo opportunities in advance or on site.
Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society was founded by Condon-Oldreive in memory of her father who passed away after an 8-week battle with pancreatic cancer. It has grown into a national charitable society, with a mandate of increasing awareness, education, support and research funding for pancreatic cancer. One hundred per cent of the funds raised support pancreatic cancer awareness, education, support and research programs.
For more information, contact: Kate Elliott, Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society email@example.com (902) 478-3956
Matthew Zwicker, firstname.lastname@example.org, 902-401-5711
Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society
Toll Free 1 877 212 9582
Mount Allison Mounties Tackle Pancreatic Cancer
October 2, 2017