Thousands to join fight against pancreatic cancer this weekend in Seattle

SEATTLE -- Thousands of people are raising money ahead of a 5K walk to raise awareness and advance pancreatic cancer research.

Only 6-percent of people diagnosed with cancer will survive more than five years, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. This type of cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all major cancers -- 73-percent of patients die within a year of being diagnosed.

The organization hopes to double the survival rate by 2020.

Supporters joining the movement are participating in the PurpleStride Puget Sounds Walk/Run on Sunday, November 2nd at Magnuson Park in Seattle.

The event will honor pancreatic cancer survivors like Seattle resident Maija Eerkes who received the diagnosis just seven months after retiring.

Fewer than 20-percent of survivors qualify for surgery. Maija did not. She underwent several rounds of intense treatment and two years later, her cancer was no longer detectable.

“Today I am an eight-year survivor, and I like to think I'm a medical miracle," she said. "Given the statistics associated with this disease, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am,” said Maija. “I feel it's my mission in life to act for people who are no longer here.”

PurpleStride Puget Sound kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Money raised helps fund support for patients, their families and caregivers. These events support research grants and advocacy efforts to increase federal pancreatic cancer research funding.