In May 2015, Brazilian resident Veridiana Martinussi made a promise to her mother to walk hand-in-hand with her at PurpleStride Miami on February 27, 2016. Unfortunately, her mother Dalmacia passed away just eight months after this promise was made and one month before the event.
But Veridiana insisted on participating in the event and refused to let the 4,000 mile trek from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Miami get in the way of fulfilling that promise.
“My mother was so energetic and generous, and I can think of no better way to honor her than a fundraising walk,” said Veridiana.
Veridiana was joined by eight Brazilian teammates who made up Team Dalmacia. Collectively, the team participated in PurpleStride in honor of 22 other loved ones who have been affected by pancreatic cancer.
Dalmacia was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2015 during a routine exam. Fortunately, her tumor was found in its early stages and her doctor’s suggested surgery as her best treatment option. During the decision-making process, Veridiana turned to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network for answers after finding the organization through a Google search.
“We took advantage of the resources and information – it was very helpful in stressful times,” said Veridiana. “Everything I learned from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s website helped me trust our local doctors fully. I was sure [my mom] was getting the best treatment available.”
Unfortunately, in December 2015, Dalmacia’s cancer came back. She passed away on Jan. 8, 2016. That’s when Veridiana looked to PurpleStride Miami as a way to continue the battle against pancreatic cancer that her mother fought so elegantly for eight months.
“I flew from Brazil all day Thursday, walked on Saturday and flew back home all day Monday,” said Veridiana of her cross-continental trip. “That is how important PurpleStride was for me, for my grief and for hope of better treatment options for other families.”
Veridiana said that PurpleStride Miami was “a special, emotional experience that truly made hard times better.”
Read Veridiana’s heartfelt thank you below:
”Two days before PurpleStride Miami I closed the final donations in Brazil, sent $4,000 to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and cried a lot. I cried for having to go through this alone without my mom. I cried for having 76 other people that cared enough about me and my mom to sponsor me. I cried for the smallest donation of $5 from my 10 year-old daughter, and for the biggest one from my sister. I cried for the 22 names that I will walk for in addition to my mom, names that my 76 friends sent me. I cried for the eight friends that will join me at PurpleStride. I cried for being the Top Fundraiser two days before the event, which would not be possible without the love of all of you. I cried because Team Dalmacia was the third highest fundraising team, among so many. I cried 7,356 tears. I cried because life ends but life continues, and so does hope.”