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Kaukauna woman virtually #WagesHope for dad lost to pancreatic cancer

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 3:55 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - On the eve of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, one local woman is waging hope in honor of her dad.

Long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek recently lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. The same disease that took Tammy Heiting’s dad, Robert Lindberg, last year shortly after her birthday.

“I remember on he 18th of November, he sat in this chair and he just wasn’t feeling good,” said Heiting. “But he still went and got me a pumpkin spice latte coffee for my birthday from the coffee shop and he still came and sang to me on my answering machine and he was still up and doing things. I just can’t believe it, I am still in shock.”

Steve Lipshetz with the Milwaukee Pancreatic Cancer Action Network said Heiting is not alone in her story.

“Three people are diagnosed every day and two pass from pancreatic cancer every day,” said Lipshetz.

Earlier this year, Lipshetz said the survival rate went up to 10 percent, which is still the lowest survival rate of any major cancer.

“Detection is very important,” said Lipshetz. “Researchers are working on an early detection test but still nothing definitive enough.”

While the pandemic has put a damper on fundraising this year, the PANCAN Network continues to wage hope with a virtual ‘Purple Light’ event on Facebook Wednesday night, at 7:00 p.m.

“We will be showing picture of our survivors... and also the ones we have lost,” said Lipshetz.

Although fundaising is important for research, both Lipshetz and Heiting said awareness is even more key right now as people may delay care during the pandemic.

“Pancreatic cancer treatment cannot wait. In my dad’s case, obviousloy it can’t wait. Screening cannot wait,” said Heiting.

This will be Heiting’s first birthday without her dad, but she knows this is exactly what he would want her to do to celebrate -- by waging hope.

“I know my dad would be really happy to know I am spreading awarenss about this,” said Heiting. “It’s the best thing I could do in my time of grief, to spread awareness about this.”

If you would like to join the virtual ‘Purple Light’ event, head to www.https://www.facebook.com/groups/PanCAN.Milwaukee

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