“I’m running and a Project Purple team member comes up next to me and starts talking,” Amy Nugent said about her time running in the 2019 Twin Cities Marathon. Amy’s mother had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2018, and she had not heard about the organization until the expo before the event.
“This runner asked for my mom’s name, because she said she prayed for someone specific every mile,” Amy said. “So there was this instant connection.” After this chance meeting, Amy decided she wanted to run for Project Purple. She and a friend of hers signed up to be part of the team for the 2020 Chicago Marathon, before it was postponed due to the pandemic.
“Everyone who gets involved with Project Purple has a personal connection,” Amy said. “It’s such a horrible disease and seeing it up close, it stirred up an anger and a passion in me.” Amy said that she was extremely frustrated by the fact that there is no good early detection method or treatment for pancreatic cancer. She said that her mother, who passed in June 2020, has driven her to keep fighting.
“Mom was incredibly active in her community,” Amy said. “She was on her schoolboard for 40 years, she was the organ player at her church, she was involved with rotary and chamber. So seeing her not be able to do those things was tough.”
Despite not being able to run last year, Amy has taken up fundraising on both social media and for other events for Project Purple. She said she and her team raised over $12,000 for Purple Paddies earlier in the year. In addition, she has her own ideas for future fundraisers. “My husband is a competitive bass fisherman,” Amy said. “So he agreed to do a silent auction or raffle for a guided bass fishing trip.”
Amy also plans to approach her town’s ball club to host a strike out cancer day in order to raise funds and tell her story, and she is currently working towards the $12,000 goal for the Chicago Marathon, which she plans to run in later in the year.