An annual event to raise money for pancreatic cancer research and awareness went virtual this year, raising thousands of dollars.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Light Up the Lake N.B. had to move online. The organizing society says that hasn’t stopped residents from going out and participating.
The Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society has organized the event for six years now, with the goal of raising awareness for pancreatic cancer.
“General public awareness of this cancer is low… despite the fact that it is now the third largest cause of cancer deaths in Canada,” said Kate Elliott, the Craig’s community engagement coordinator.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 6,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and 5,300 will die from it.
Only around eight per cent of Canadians diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will live for five or more years after diagnosis.
The cancer grows quickly and often comes back even after it is completely removed by surgery, the website says.
That’s why Craig’s has a goal to raise money for things like grants for low-income patients, funding for national pancreatic cancer research grants and educational books and DVDs that are distributed Canada-wide.
“If we can get people’s attention, there is a higher chance they will think of their risks, learn the symptoms and potentially get an earlier diagnosis, which can save their lives,” Elliott said.
In 2019, the Light Up the Lake New Brunswick walk was organized in Lily Lake Rockwood Park in Saint John.
Participants were given lights and glow sticks as they walked around the lake after the sun went down.
That event raised over $5,000 with 170 participants.
This year, participants were able to register online in advance to receive the society’s materials and choose their own time to go on the walk.
Participants were told to send in photos from their walk to the society on Sunday.
“We’ve been really happy with the response,” Elliott said.
Elliott said around 100 people participated in this year’s virtual event, and around $4,200 was raised as of Sunday afternoon.