Kasey Grimaldi is a 10-year pancreatic cancer survivor. Throughout her battle, she has loved and lost a lot because of this deadly disease. However, she continues to hope for a brighter future and a world without pancreatic cancer, and she is taking steps to make that dream a reality.
Grimaldi and her family have teamed up with Project Purple, a nonprofit committed to eradicating pancreatic cancer, to host a fundraiser to celebrate Grimaldi’s 10-year anniversary.
The event, Creating Miracles, will be held at Manitook Camp in Granby on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 2 to 8 p.m. with food and drinks throughout the festivities. There will also be live music. The event is a celebration and a call to action. Tickets will be $30 per person, with proceeds going towards helping patients in need of financial assistance.
Pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancers known, has a 12 percent survival rate. Grimaldi beat the odds, but the battle was won with the help of family and friends. “Without the support system I had, it would have gone very differently for me,” she said.
Grimaldi’s diagnosis came out of nowhere, which is common for pancreatic cancer patients. At 48, she was in good health, had a beautiful family, and loved her job as a social worker with the Department of Children and Families. Her diagnosis turned her world upside down.
“When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t even know what the pancreas was,” said Grimaldi, “I had always been healthy, into my diet, always in the gym, all of it. So, when all these issues started happening, I just didn’t know. I didn’t know the severity. I had never heard of pancreatic cancer, and then suddenly, it felt like that was all I could see around me.”
Grimaldi was diagnosed with stage 2B pancreatic cancer after going to the doctor about a random severe pain in her abdomen. After the diagnosis, in a short amount of time, she was forced to retire from her job so she could focus on her health. The transition was very jarring for her and her family.
Grimaldi’s battle was intense. Within two weeks of diagnosis, she had extensive surgery to remove the pancreatic tumor, however, a positive margin and infected lymph nodes remained She went through almost eight months of rigorous oral and intravenous chemo and radiation. Grimaldi is still grappling with the aftereffects of her treatments, both mentally and physically.
There were bright spots during her battle, and those small bits of happiness kept Grimaldi going. Being at home, she spent more time with her young daughter. She had a partner who could be there for her as well. Her husband has always been her rock, especially throughout her cancer journey.
His support, combined with her friends’ help, made all the difference in her battle. Grimaldi’s friends brought meals to alleviate the burden of cooking and provided transportation for her daughter when needed. All that support she received has inspired her to reach out to others; she wants to give back to the cancer community by partnering with Project Purple.
Project Purple is a nonprofit organization with a mission to end pancreatic cancer. Founded in 2010, Seymour-based Project Purple provides financial aid and hope to patients battling pancreatic cancer and funds critical research in the detection and treatment of the disease. Its primary source of funding is through peer-to-peer fundraising by individuals participating in marathons, half marathons, and other physical activities.
Project Purple has funded nearly $3 million in research and provided more than $700,000 in financial aid to help patients cover medical bills, utilities and housing costs while undergoing treatment.
Grimaldi saw first-hand how valuable the program can be for people. She hopes that this event will help those who don’t have the same support she received while battling pancreatic cancer.
“I love what Project Purple does, especially with its direct work with patients and the families,” said Grimaldi. “I know people who have struggled financially after that diagnosis… And I can’t imagine going through this alone or having the added stress of not being able to pay your bills.”
The Grimaldis invite you to celebrate Kasey’s victory, but also to help raise funds for a cause that is vital to cancer patients in the community. For more information on Project Purple, please visit projectpurple.org
Note: Maureen Lynch is the blogging intern for Project Purple.