Note: This is the first blog in a 10-part series following Pancreatic Cancer Action Network volunteer Andrew Miller as he participates in PurpleStride walks throughout the country.
Andrew Miller first got involved with PanCAN after his coworker, Cheryl Norman, passed away from pancreatic cancer in October 2013. He was haunted by the disease’s grim five-year survival rate, and the thought wouldn’t leave him as he tried to go about his life in the months following her death.
“I knew that Cheryl held a volunteer position for the Portland Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, so I decided to attend a meeting,” Andrew said. “That meeting inspired me to volunteer at PurpleStride Portland in 2014, and I’ve been involved with the local affiliate ever since.”
Andrew is the teams ambassador for the Portland Affiliate and also sits on the organization’s Volunteer Advisory Council alongside 11 volunteers across the country.
Andrew is continuously seeking feedback from fellow volunteers and participants to better understand how he can contribute to the success of PurpleStride, he knows that by raising awareness, he can help change lives today.
“I think PurpleStride creates a wonderful opportunity to listen, share experiences and volunteer with others impacted by pancreatic cancer across the county,” Andrew said. “I love to learn from my local volunteers and team captains, and I want to continue to do this by traveling outside of Portland.”
But Andrew’s commitment to PurpleStride and PanCAN far exceeds his local community. He’s decided to attend 10 PurpleStride events this year, with a collective fundraising goal of $3,300.
Andrew’s first stop was this past weekend at PurpleStride Las Vegas. He traveled 763 miles from his home to attend the event, and volunteered for two full days. While in Las Vegas, Andrew met fellow volunteer and cross-country traveler Mike Linse of the Oklahoma Affiliate, who had traveled from his home in Oklahoma City to volunteer in memory of his late wife, Julie.
The day before the event, Andrew worked alongside Mike and the Las Vegas Affiliate to set up the event area. On event day, Andrew had the opportunity to volunteer at the Wage Hope tent, and later participated in the 5K walk. After the event concluded, he stayed to help the local affiliate tear down and clean up the event space.
“While volunteering is always rewarding, it’s the stories that are shared while volunteering that energize me,” Andrew said. “Those are always the most memorable moments for me.”
#AndrewStrides will continue at PurpleStride Phoenix on Saturday, April 1. Donate to Andrew’s PurpleStride Phoenix fundraising page and search #AndrewStrides on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to follow his journey.
Wage Hope at PurpleStride, the walk to end pancreatic cancer, by registering for an event near you!