A walk to raise awareness and money for pancreatic cancer research will be held in central Iowa today. Travis Simpson is a spokesman for PAN-CAN, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The so-called “Purple Stride Iowa” benefit raised $55,000 last year with about 600 participants.

Simpson says 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and more than 37,000 will die from it.

He says it’s the third- or fourth-largest type of cancer and it’s the least-funded of the major cancers for research.

About 75% of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year and the five-year survival rate is only six-percent. Registration begins at 8 A.M. at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines and the walk begins at 10 AM. Purple Stride Iowa evolved from a walk by Jody Moats, formerly of Webster City.

She walked across Iowa in 2006 and in 2007 in honor of her father, Darwin Hartnett of Webster City, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2005.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City