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Indian Valley resident walks for pancreatic cancer research

Tami Williamson can frequently be seen dressed in purple with bright purple hair. It’s the color of pancreatic cancer awareness and she aims to promote both better screening and a cure. Photo by Meg Upton

Tami Williamson’s doctors are calling her “the 1 percent of the 1 percent.” She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014 — but has lived to tell about it. She’s a survivor.

“Survivor and pancreatic cancer are not two words that go together,” said a friend of hers.

Now, for the third year in a row, Williamson is taking part in a walk for more pancreatic cancer research. She has come a long way. That first year, she could barely walk. The second year it was still difficult. Now the 5K is a little less daunting.

November is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and Nov. 15 is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day.

Pancreatic Cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths, but by 2020 will be the leading cause of cancer deaths. This is attributed to the leading cancers having better screenings (breast cancer and colon cancer). There’s still no screening for pancreatic. Cancer patients do not usually find out they have pancreatic cancer until the cancer has hit Stage 4.

The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is severely low — hovering around 9 percent a year after diagnosis. Four years after diagnosis — like Williamson — is extremely rare.

She aims to do her part to change that. Doing the Purple Stride walk in Sacramento is her way of contributing to research to develop better screenings.

The Purple Stride 5K Run/Walk takes place in Sacramento on Nov. 10 at 10 a.m., with opening ceremonies at 10:30 a.m.

It takes place at William Land Park on the corner of Freeport Boulevrd and Sutterville Road.

The Indian Valley Striders — Williamson’s walking team — are Cheryl Robinson, Janet Garman, Elizabeth Sosner (who lost her mother Susie Wilson to pancreatic cancer earlier in the decade) and daughter Donna Williamson.

Tami Williamson had set a goal of raising $2,000 for pancreatic cancer research before the walk and has so far exceeded her goal and raised $2,062. She’s now hoping to reach the $3,000 mark by Nov. 10.

This year she held a dinner at the Taylorsville Rock and Gem Museum room Oct. 6 and received $600 from the dinner alone.

The website for the walk is pancan.org. Williamson’s name is on the list of Sacramento participants. She’s the one from Plumas County participating in the event.

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