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‘Raise Your Voice’ to fight pancreatic cancer

Joan Mabbutt lost her husband Buck, a well-known Silverdale orthodontist, to pancreatic cancer four years ago.  - Courtesy photo
Joan Mabbutt lost her husband Buck, a well-known Silverdale orthodontist, to pancreatic cancer four years ago.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

By ERIN BEIL

Staff writer

Joan Mabbutt didn’t know much about pancreatic cancer until she received a crash course when her husband, Buck, was diagnosed and given only six months to live.

Buck lived with the illness for 13 months before he died.

“After such a devastating loss, it shakes you to your heart and soul ... You’re fighting for quality not quantity” Mabbutt said, adding that after her loss she got involved with a local branch of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) called TeamHOPE. “This made me want to help others.”

A well-known orthodontist in the community, Buck’s symptoms mimicked that of back pain, stomach pain and the flu. The pancreas, which is located deep in the abdomen, is responsible for the production of enzymes for digestion and production of hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. This year, pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in more than 33,700 people in the United States and is the third leading cause of cancer death in men, according to PanCAN.

“Unfortunately, most patients are diagnosed at stage 4,” Mabbutt added. “It’s very late. There are survivors out there, but there’s no early detection.”

With November being National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, PanCAN’s motto this year is “Raise your voice,” to increase funding and create an alertness of pancreatic cancer. On Thursday, Nov. 15, various businesses and organizations around the world will participate in “Picture yourself purple,” a fund-raising event for PanCAN with all proceeds going toward pancreatic cancer research.

Groups and individuals are encouraged to dress in crazy costumes highlighting the color purple, the color of pancreatic cancer support, and send their stories to PanCAN detailing why they chose to raise awareness in their community.

“For anyone who’s had cancer, they know knowledge is power,” Mabbutt said of raising awareness. “It’s inspiring to be around survivors and be a volunteer.”

Getting in on the fun, Grape Expectations Wine Shop, located at 3594 Byron Road in Silverdale, is hosting a “Picture Yourself Purple” party. The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30. The party will feature wine and cheese tastings. Flowers To Go also will have a purple tree at the party and will be selling serenity ornaments.

“We’ll have wine, increase awareness and share memories of my husband,” Mabbutt said. “The best thing we can do is reach out.”

As part of the “Raise your Voice” campaign, Mabbutt said anyone can go to the PanCAN Web site, at www.pancan.org, and get involved in local, state and national events to raise awareness as well as donate to cancer research and e-mail or write letters to senators and representatives. Templates can be found on the Web site to either e-mail or send.

“There’s so many easy ways for people to get involved ... everyone has an important role they can play in this” she added. “Now is the time to get involved to help make a difference in someone’s life before it happens to someone you love.”

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