In its continued efforts to create a world without pancreatic cancer, Project Purple saw a historic year of fundraising in 2022. Thanks to the commitment of the Project Purple community, we saw our most successful year of fundraising to date, raising over $1.8 million for research efforts and patient financial aid. In the past year, it was also announced that the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer increased, by one percent, from 11 to 12 percent. The ongoing dedication of our community continues to be felt as we remain devoted to the fight to end pancreatic cancer.
Our half marathon and marathon teams played a significant role in Project Purple’s historic fundraising year, raising over $1 million. The teams participated in races across the United States in cities such as New York City, Chicago, SoNo, Lincoln, and more. Project Purple also had the opportunity to send official teams to international races for the first time, with runners participating in the London and Berlin marathons.
“Our team members really stepped up this year to help advance our mission of a world without pancreatic cancer,” said Dino Verrelli, founder and CEO of Project Purple. “Both the New York and Chicago teams shattered our previous fundraising records for those races, collectively raising more than $800,000. At the same time, they helped amplify awareness for Project Purple and provide financial aid and care packages to people battling this deadly disease.”
Funding Research Through New Grants
At the end of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November, Project Purple announced five grants that totaled $632,000. This was made possible thanks to the fundraising contributions of our community. As a result, these grants will help fund further research for early detection and curative treatment for pancreatic cancer. Dino and other staff members reflected on the success of 2022 and the continued growth over the past few years.
“We are just so blessed to have this opportunity. A total of $632,000 and climbing in terms of our grants,” said Dino. “That brings us close to $3 million and the majority of that’s been done in the last 4 years.” Vin Kampf, Running Team Program Director, described the grants as a “stepping stone” for what Project Purple will be able to accomplish and grow on in the coming years.
Along with the efforts of our running teams, Project Purple was able to succeed in fundraising by hosting in-person and virtual events. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic of the past years, we had to learn how to incorporate virtual experiences in order to make events more accessible through the pandemic and personal-related limitations. As the country progressed towards a point past lockdown, Dino was excited to go “full steam ahead” as people began to come together once again and rebuild aspects of the community that were previously unavailable.
Just because the world returned to in-person events that did not mean our virtual events disappeared. In fact, we found that our community still loved these events even post-lockdown. The combination of physical and virtual events helped propel us toward our record-setting fundraising year. The 2022 Turkey Trot hosted over 290 people and contributed over $45,000 in donations, marking Project Purple’s most successful virtual event ever. We additionally hosted other virtual events throughout the year such as Purple Paddy’s 5k, various Facebook challenges, and more. Follow Project Purple on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages to stay updated on these opportunities.
Races were not the only in-person events that helped to fundraise for the cause. The second annual Project Purple Charity Golf Classic was held on June 6th at the Shorehaven Golf Club of Norwalk, CT. The event saw massive growth from its inaugural launch in the previous year. It sold out with 144 golfers and fundraised over double the previous year’s totals, reaching over $82,000 in donations for pancreatic cancer research and patient financial aid. The day included prize giveaways for the top scorers and winners of putting, driving, and other competitions, a dinner reception, raffles, and auctions.
To end the night, we launched the Project Purple Hall of Fame and announced its first two inductees, James Pantelidis and Tara Petta. The two made great candidates due to their devotion to the cause over the past years. With another edition of the event in the books, we are excited to continue building on this year’s success, and it will return to Norwalk on June 5th, 2023. We are always looking for new sponsors, and if you would like your business to be involved in the mission, information is available at https://www.projectpurple.org/sponsors/.
Fitness Events- Push Pull and Basketball
With more gyms reopening after the pandemic, our “Push Pull” program was able to return to pre-pandemic levels. Push Pull is a community fundraiser that helps raise awareness of pancreatic cancer, advocates for living a healthy life, and empowers those who are fighting with hope. This year over 250 people participated across 20 gyms. We also launched our first ever 3v3 Basketball Tournament, which aimed to raise awareness for the non-profit and pancreatic cancer around the Seymour, CT., area.
We greatly appreciate the contributions from our third-party supporters. In 2022, the Horner Hustle 5k Fun Run/Walk from Park Ridge, IL celebrated its fifth year. We additionally received the exciting new opportunity to be an official non-profit charity for the Brooklyn Nets for a game on December 4th. Anyone can host a Project Purple fundraiser in the form of food and drink stands, restaurant dine-to-donate days, charity auctions, and more. If you need any help hosting a fundraiser of your own, let us know how we can help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharing Pancreatic Cancer Stories
Spreading awareness of this disease has always been a priority for us. Due to the fact that pancreatic cancer is so difficult to detect, there is a 71% mortality rate within one year of diagnosis, and only a 12% survival rate five years after diagnosis. At Project Purple, we spread hope by providing heartfelt content and sharing stories of overcoming adversity. You can find this content on our social media accounts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn.
The Project Purple Podcast, which was started in 2018, has since recorded over 225 episodes and amassed 65,000 plays and counting. Dino Verrelli, the host of the podcast, meets with survivors, doctors, and families who are affected by pancreatic cancer. With the perspectives of him and the guests, the podcast provides inspirational stories about their experiences, as well as information about medical treatment, marathon running, nutrition, and more. The podcast can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud in audio form and is now available on video on Youtube for those who prefer a visual experience.
We are delighted with the results of 2022 and are looking to continue building on the year’s success in 2023. The team is excited to host and participate in races, virtual and physical events, local fundraisers, and much more.