Purplestride Miami is the centerpiece of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, an organization dedicated to furthering research and supporting those suffering from pancreatic cancer. Just walking in, one can quickly pick up the vibe Purplestride is trying to create; the music is loud and everywhere you see happy and smiling people. This environment is key to giving patients the hope that they need to fight this disease.
For the past 2 years, Vickie Fraizer-Williams has served as the MC for this event. She joined the organization several years ago after her and Rene Cibran had discussed the disease within their own families. Her goal is to “get people excited and to raise hope”. Hope is the key here. As MC, Vickie’s lively personality and on-stage presence really bring out the spirit in everyone attending; it shows that everyone here – patient, survivor, or a supporter – is in this together. When she’s not on stage presenting awards or livening up the crowd, Vickie can be found within the crowd itself; talking and laughing with everyone.
There are few moments of silence at Purplestride Miami, one of these being the main event: the walk for pancreatic cancer. Families from all different parts of Miami come together and stand behind a single starting line and await their queue to go. As the walk begins, the numbers within the main stage area dwindle. This parallels with the sense of togetherness Purplestride carries with it. Everyone including: vendors, patients, survivors, parents pushing strollers, and those who run the organization, walk for the same cause and through this unite as one despite their differing backgrounds and experiences.
But before this wave of purple sweeps over Doral Central Park, the attendees get together as teams to work further for their cause. These teams pool together donations from multiple families in hopes to be the biggest donor at the main event. Together these teams can accomplish incredible things, with the top team bringing in a donation of over 10 thousand dollars and subsequent teams bringing in around 8 thousand. This friendly competition inspires and motivates people to do as much as they can to bring their team to victory. The teams, for the most part, are named after someone who had suffered from the disease. This shows that teams such as “Team Alan” and “Team Robert” have something they are fighting for, they have a reason to be there and they will fight for whoever their team is named for.
Purplestride Miami has been offering hope and support to those suffering from pancreatic cancer for years. The welcoming, family-like environment invites people from all scores of life to unite under a singular cause and one can easily tell this cause motivates these attendees. They walk, stride, and run down the same path which is not only around a park, but also weaves into the lives of those they are fighting for.
By Javier Busto, Marcos Cibran, David Caserta, Ricardo Gomez, and Gabriel Gonzalez