Runner Maureen Haynes

Maureen Haynes is preparing to run the New York City Marathon this fall. This will be her first attempt at the marathon distance. She wanted to run as part of a charity team because she thought that it would be more rewarding to be a part of a team than running just on her own. A few weeks back, Maureen scrolled through the list of New York City Marathon charity partners and found Project Purple. She knew she had found the perfect charity to represent. Though Maureen has not personally been affected by Pancreatic Cancer, her mother, Liz, has lived with chronic pancreatitis from the time she was a baby. The impact that her illness has had on Maureen’s family is tremendous. Furthermore, chronic pancreatitis has been linked to Pancreatic Cancer. Maureen understands how important the pancreas is and she hopes that research will unlock the mysteries of the diseases of the pancreas.

Liz & Maureen Haynes
Liz & Maureen Haynes

Liz Haynes was born with congenital pancreatitis, which caused her pain through her entire childhood. She was finally accurately diagnosed in her late teen years. Pancreatitis causes extreme abdominal and back pain, as well as nausea and digestive problems. Though she had been told she would never be able to have children, Liz and her husband ended up having three: daughters Delia and Maureen and son Sam.

Delia & Maureen with their father
Delia & Maureen with their father

Maureen remembers a childhood where her mother was constantly in and out of the hospital. Liz had to have a number of surgeries. She had a stent placed in her bile duct to open it up.  Because pancreatitis causes extreme pain that can sometimes be relieved by fasting, she had to frequently rely on feeding tubes for her nutritional needs. Liz often could only consume special protein drinks when she was able to eat any food at all. Diet can trigger much of the pain associated with pancreatitis, so carefully limiting dietary intake plays an important role in pain control.

In Maureen’s senior year of high school, Liz got very sick and had to be hospitalized for an extended period of time. Maureen remembers how she had to stop by the hospital prior to the prom so her mom could see her in her dress. Liz eventually was released in time for Maureen’s graduation, but ended up in the Intensive Care Unit a short time later.

Having a mother who was so sick had a profound impact on the entire Haynes family. Maureen describes her father as “a saint” who helped keep the family together through the difficult times. Though Liz is currently doing better, Maureen knows that dealing with chronic pancreatitis continues to be a day-to-day struggle for her mom.

Maureen & mom

Despite the difficulties, Maureen enjoys an incredibly close bond with her mom. The two talk or text message every day. Maureen says, “She is the first person I go to when I need something. Sick or not, our relationship would be the same. Maybe we would have had a few more happy memories of doing fun stuff outside of the hospital, but it has made our relationship stronger. It makes me cherish the good times we have had together. It doesn’t matter where we are, as long as we can talk regularly, see each other and stay involved in each other’s lives.”

Liz & Maureen
Liz & Maureen

Maureen started running in high school. She never joined a team as she found that she just enjoyed running by herself. In her junior and senior years of high school, she started running local 5k and 10k races. Running was her way to escape from everything in her life. She says, “Running is my escape, but it also centers me. When I am running, I don’t feel the pressure of life. It helps me prioritize things and puts me in a good frame of mind. It lifts my mood and makes me feel grounded.”

Maureen has long had a goal of completing a marathon. She completed her Master’s Degree last year and thought that now would be the perfect time to train for one before life gets more hectic for her. It was important to her to run for a charity. The New York City Marathon was the race that she really wanted to do. She lives near New York City and the big-city nature of the race appeals to her. She also wanted to run in honor of her mother and all that their family has been through. “I want my mom to know just how much I love her. I would be so lost without my parents. I have been so fortunate to have them as my role models and my support system. Even though we have had a lot of hurdles and ups and downs, we have done a good job of making it through the day to do. I wouldn’t be able to run this without them supporting me and cheering me on, which they have done their whole lives.”


Because there is a link between chronic pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer, Maureen feels that supporting Project Purple makes sense. The entire Haynes family would like to see more research into curing diseases of the pancreas. Please support Maureen’s Project Purple fundraiser by donating at the link below:

Follow Project Purple on Social Media

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