Get to Know Project Purple Ambassador Gina Franco

Gina Franco wants to bring a larger stage for pancreatic cancer awareness. Since being a part of her first Push Pull event with Project Purple in November 2016, she’s made it a mission to live in a world without pancreatic cancer.  

Gina lost her mother to pancreatic cancer in May 2017. Since then, she’s been living a life that her mother would want her to live.  

“After losing my mom to pancreatic cancer, it has made me not take one day for granted. I feel blessed to still be healthy and alive, living a life she would have done anything to continue in,” Gina said. “She would want me to live my best life now!” 

Since participating in her first Push Pull event almost four years ago, Gina’s been a part of various events and fundraisers over the years. She’s helped fundraise Push Pull events that her CrossFit gyms have hosted. In 2017, an event hosted by Hybrid Athletics was the #1 fundraising gym, and they won an Assault Bike because of it!  

In 2018 and 2019, she hosted the Project Purple: Steps for a Cure Run/Walk in Norwalk, CT. She plans to continue hosting and being a part of more events for Project Purple in 2020. Why? She says being with Project Purple and a part of the ambassador programs gives her hope that one day there will be a cure for pancreatic cancer.  

“Project Purple means hope to me,” Gina said. “It has provided hope to many patients and their families. Hope that one day there will be a cure or a screening that will save people’s lives. The ambassador program has given me hope that I am not alone or the only one who has lost a loved one to this awful disease.”  

Gina believes more awareness can be brought to pancreatic cancer through a larger stage. Pancreatic cancer doesn’t receive the same funding and research that is provided to other cancers, but she believes organizations like Project Purple and others are starting to make an impact. 

“Awareness needs to be in everyone’s minds just as commonly as breast cancer is. I want the same funding and research that is provided to other cancers. I think with charitable organizations like Project Purple and others, we are beginning to make an impact,” Gina said. “Ultimately, there will always be family members left behind with a wound from losing a loved one. For me, this mission to have a world without pancreatic cancer has become a significant part of my daily life.” 

When asked what motivates her to find a cure and why she continues to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer, she doesn’t think twice about her answer. 

“My motivation has always been my mom,” Gina said. “Having to watch her fight the disease and lose to it was heart wrenching. I find it easy to stay focused on fundraising after experiencing her loss. Raising awareness has given me a purpose and makes me feel connected to her even a couple years after her passing. I am honoring her by doing the work.” 

Gina wants to let those battling this disease know they are not alone in their fight, and to continue to have faith and hope. 

“Project Purple is fighting to find a cure,” she said. “Their courageous fight is what motivates our mission.

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