Pinoy drift car driver raises awareness for pancreatic cancer

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 4, 2014

LOS ANGELES – Some ran and others walked. A few dressed as superheroes while others sported pictures of loved ones whom they lost to pancreatic cancer.

For professional drift car driver Mitchell Tan, the disease that kills over 90 percent of victims within five years of diagnosis, gives him a new drive.

“My uncle passed away last year from pancreatic cancer and I’ve been drifting for a while now and I thought it’d be a great way to raise awareness for a great cause while chasing after me dreams at the same time,” said Tan.

As people remember their dearly departed this All Saint’s Day, this Philippine-born driver decided to honor his uncle by raising awareness at the race track and decorating his car with the purple ribbon, the symbol of pancreatic cancer.

“Right now I want to push it even harder for the race just so I can show how strong we are as a group(sic) not a lot of people know about cancer in general in the car community and car enthusiasts will know about pancreatic cancer,” said the 19-year-old driver.

Recently Tan joined five thousand runners at the 17th annual Los Angeles Cancer Challenge.

“That’s what we’re here to do today that’s to shed light create awareness and ultimately really raise the money that’s needed to fund the research that’s going to lead us to acute, early detection, prevention, all the different things that our scientists are working so hard to fix, said Lisa Manheim, executive director of Hirschburg Foundation.

Statistics show that over 40,000 Americans are living with the disease which involves a tumor in the pancreas. The tumor can spread rapidly without warning causing bloody urine, diarrhea, fatigue and jaundice.

A way to prevent it is living a healthy lifestyle avoiding sugars, high fructose corn syrup and it’s more prevalent in diabetics and people who are obese although not all patients who have pancreatic cancer are obese or unhealthy, so it really unfortunately touches everybody,” explained Manheim.

Studies have shown that in the Philippines, pancreatic cancer is only the 14th leading cause of cancer, but when it does strike, it hits hard, as the 10th leading cause of cancer deaths.

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