For the sixth consecutive year, the students and faculty at Liberty Middle School were encouraged to wear purple to raise awareness during November’s Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month about the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
The week was organized by one of the school’s math teachers, Todd Cohen, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer 10 years ago and volunteers for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a pancreatic cancer charity.
During the week, pancreatic cancer facts were read during the morning announcements and the students were given purple ribbons that were sorted by the Student Council to wear Friday, Nov. 16.
Cohen said the five-year survival rate is six percent. With no early-detection method or effective treatment options, the disease is currently anticipated to become the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States by 2020, possibly as early as 2015.
“Pancreatic cancer is one of the more overlooked cancers. By creating awareness it allows the students and faculty to be exposed to a very serious health problem that exists in our community,” Cohen said. “In the decade that has passed since losing my father, not much has changed about this terrible disease and every bit of awareness leads us one step closer to finding a cure.”
The students and faculty created a human purple ribbon during the week. The school has done similar ribbons to raise awareness about breast cancer (pink) and drug prevention (red).
"It's always rewarding to see students and faculty band together for worthy causes," Liberty Principal Robert Klemt said. "This was another teachable moment to show the students the importance of raising awareness about various types of cancer."