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Fight pancreatic cancer with Purple Pansies

Casa Nuova holds fundraiser Sept. 30

Casa Nuova owner Maria Fundora, right, browses the silent auction items with Toni Thomas at the Purple Pansies event Sept. 30. JONATHAN COPSEY/Staff. (click for larger version)

Among the many silent auction items donated to raise money for pancreatic cancer research were a Lynard Skynard signed guitar and a poster signed by the Rolling Stones. JONATHAN COPSEY/Staff. (click for larger version)
October 10, 2012
MILTON, Ga. — The third annual Purple Pansies event was held Sept. 30 at Casa Nuova to help raise money to battle pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer with 96 percent of those diagnosed dying within three to six months, McDonald said. Part of this high mortality rate is that detection is so poor, by the time a patient knows they have it, it's too late to treat. Also, there is no known cure, with traditional chemotherapy having little effect other than prolonging life a few months.

"There's not much money to fund cancer research," said Dr. Oliver McDonald, a lead researcher at Johns Hopkins University, which is one of the largest researchers of cancer. "Pancreatic cancer takes a back seat to the more common cancers, so much of the funding comes from private donations."

Like Purple Pansies.

"If we didn't have functions like this, we wouldn't have funding," McDonald said. "This support is vital."

Maria Fundora, who owns Casa Nuova with her husband, lost her mother to the cancer several years ago. Since then, Fundora has gathered with others in the community who have similarly lost their loved ones to pancreatic cancer. The fundraiser has brought in about $50,000 each year.

The dinner at Casa Nuova was sold out well in advance and the many items up for grabs at the silent auction were able to fetch quite the price. In all this year, Casa Nuova was able to raise $85,000.

Kerry Downs, who works with the city of Alpharetta, said a good friend of hers died recently of pancreatic cancer.

"We still miss her every day," she said. "If there is anything we can do to prevent someone else going through pancreatic cancer, we should do it."

MH 101012

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