Shannon Scalisi’s life was forever changed when her mother, Lynda Turnage, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May, 2014. After experiencing some abdominal and back pain, Lynda had a CT scan that revealed a mass in her pancreas. Given only three to six months to live, Lynda’s family searched far and wide for a doctor who could give the family some hope. Lynda tried several different chemotherapy options over the next several months, but her cancer continued to spread through her body.
When Linda suffered a stroke, the decision was made to cease chemotherapy. She passed away in May, 2015. She beat the odds she was initially given, but the pain of loss was too much for her daughter Shannon to bear. Shannon vowed to fight back against the disease that took her mother and she has now partnered with Project Purple on several fronts in the war against pancreatic cancer.
Shannon took up running years ago when her husband’s company put on a 5k. The husband and wife team have since run nine races together, ranging in distance from 5 K to 50 K (31 miles). For a busy couple raising four children, running presents the perfect opportunity to combine heath, fitness and time together. In 2015, Shannon ran her first full marathon, the Chicago Marathon, with Project Purple. Running every step thinking about her mom, Shannon finished the marathon and raised over $4,000 for the pancreatic cancer charity.
Shannon & Johnny Direct a 5k for Project Purple
Still, Shannon had unfinished business with the disease. In 2016, she and her husband Johnny decided to organize a 5k fundraising run that would benefit Project Purple. Named for her mother, the race was called the Project Purple-Lynda Turnage Memorial 5k, and was held on May 21, 2016. Shannon says, “We decided to put together a 5k race to honor my mom who passed away in May, 2015 from pancreatic cancer. We also wanted to raise funds and awareness in our town.”
“Our goal with establishing this race was to put on a family friendly community event that would raise money and honor my mom,” Shannon explains. Johnny, who was very close to his mother-in-law, also felt compelled to join in the fight against pancreatic cancer. Family and friends within their Louisiana community turned out for the event. “There were so many special things about race day,” Shannon recalls. “Most of mom’s friends and family came out to honor her memory.” Those who could not attend made donations to the cause.
All successful races come together with the help of many volunteers. Shannon is thankful for everyone who participated, either as a runner or walker, or as a volunteer. “I would like to thank the volunteers who helped pass out water, those who did the timing and helped with the race route.”
The couple plans to make the event an annual fundraiser. “It was an amazing event and hopefully next year it will be bigger and better! My hope for the proceeds that are raised from this and future events is that it will help fund a study that will find a cure for this horrible disease.”
Shannon & Johnny To Run with Project Purple in Denver
Many people would feel like they needed a break after giving so much of themselves to a cause, but not Shannon and Johnny. The couple is signed up to run the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon in October, 2016. Shannon was born in Colorado, but moved when she was very little. Running in Denver provides her with the opportunity to return to her home state while doing something good for those impacted by pancreatic cancer. In the future, Shannon and Johnny plan to run one race per year for Project Purple, while also building and growing their local 5 k event.
Please help the Scalisi’s reach the Project Purple fundraising goal by making a donation at the following link: