A few years ago, a family of four walked into the Right Track Toy Train Museum in Lake Lure, N.C. They had spotted the museum as they drove through the picturesque resort town, and with one look at the sign, they knew they had to stop in.
“They told me that they were visiting North Carolina to take care of the wife’s father, who had just died of pancreatic cancer,” said Margaret “Peggy” Keyes, the museum owner. “We talked for a long time and shared stories. As they walked out the door, the wife turned to her husband and I heard her say, ‘I feel so much better now.’ ”
This is just one of the hundreds of families, collectors and community groups who visit the Right Track Toy Train Museum each year. Peggy created the museum in honor of her husband, Larry, an avid toy train collector who lost his fight to pancreatic cancer in 2007 after just three months.
The four-room museum houses thousands of Larry’s trains – including his beloved Lionels. With the help of local volunteers, she opened its doors in spring 2011, on what would have been his 75th birthday.
Peggy donates 100 percent of the proceeds from the toy train museum to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. She estimates that she’s been able to contribute $25,000 thus far.
“When Larry was diagnosed, I found out that the outlook for pancreatic cancer hadn’t improved for 30 years, and that really riled me up,” she said. “I’m proud to support things like research for a diagnostic tool, because I think that really is the key.”
Peggy is one of the many dedicated supporters who form the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Circle of Hope monthly giving program. The Circle of Hope program makes it easy to Wage Hope continuously throughout the year, via automatic monthly donations in the amount of the supporter’s choice.
“I can donate more per year this way. I couldn’t sit down and write a check for that entire amount at one time, but having a donation taken out of my account each month is very simple,” she said.
A four-year breast cancer survivor, Peggy is proud that she’s been able to make an impact in the fight against pancreatic cancer. And she knows her husband would be happy to see the museum created in honor of him and all those impacted by the deadliest major cancer.
“His favorite part would have been the fact that I’ve got so many running trains in there,” she said. “The only time he had room for running trains was Christmas underneath the tree. He’d create a huge display, and the whole neighborhood would come and see them. Now even more people can see his trains running.”
Each day, we move closer to doubling pancreatic cancer survival by 2020, but a fight this critical this takes continual support. Join our Circle of Hope, or explore other meaningful ways to help us Wage Hope against the third leading cause of cancer death.