Mark Nemitz first became aware of and involved in the Charlotte affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network after his wife Dianne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2011.
PanCAN creates hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer, by advocating research, community involvement, and patient support.
“Most recently PanCAN has adopted the motto “Wage Hope,” which echoes their purpose to not only fight for a cure for this deadly cancer, but also to come alongside those who are currently battling for their life,” Mark says. “Through my experience, this attitude is freely shared with everyone who comes into contact with a member of this organization.”
Despite it not being a “Christian” organization, Mark was drawn to it by the attitudes of those serving.
“I could tell the attitudes of I could tell that the attitudes of those who were involved had a “Christ-like” demeanor about them. After getting involved with this organization, I\’ve found out that many of the volunteers are also fellow believers.”
Throughout his involvement with the organization Mark has served as a volunteer at various PanCAN functions, such as the PurpleStride 5K, the PurpleLight ceremony, PanCAN affiliate meetings, the National call-in and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
Mark recalls one story of how PanCAN encouraged his wife to step out of her comfort zone to help and encourage others.
“My wife, Dianne, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2011. She never liked being in the spotlight, but realized that sometimes she had to sacrifice her comfort level in order to help others,” Mark says.
“During our involvement with PanCAN, an opportunity came up for an interview with the South Charlotte Weekly. Dianne was hesitant, however this organization came alongside her and encouraged her to do the interview, even accompanying her so she wouldn’t be alone. After the article was published she was not only relieved, but was proud to be able to represent PanCAN as a ‘survivor’, and serve as an encouragement to others.”
“Even though Dianne passed away in March 2014, she continues to be an amazing encouragement to me and many others who were touched by her willingness to get outside her comfort zone.”