(Posted Nov. 11, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Sandra Karnes wears purple and even paints her fingernails purple in support of the fight against pancreatic cancer.
The West Jefferson resident lost her husband, Jim, to the disease in 2011. The time from his diagnosis to his death was just five weeks. Jim was a West Jefferson High School graduate and a former Franklin County sheriff. He was with the department for 48 years, the last 18 as sheriff. Jim and Sandra were married for 48 years.
In Jim’s memory, Sandra volunteers to help raise awareness and funds for research through the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. On Nov. 9, she stood by as the Madison County commissioners signed a proclamation recognizing Nov. 13 as World Pancreatic Cancer Day in Madison County.
“We are waging hope,” Sandra said of the Action Network’s efforts. The group advocates for federal funding for research and, in Ohio, holds the Purple Stride Walk each fall.
The battle is a tough one, to say the least. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In 2015, an estimated 48,960 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 40,560 will die from the disease. Symp-toms generally don’t present themselves until the cancer is far along. As a result, 73 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year of diagnosis, while 93 percent die within the first five years.
Sandra and other advocates are pushing for awareness and research into early detection, causes and effective treatments. For details, go to www.pancan.org.