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Erg-a-thon for Pancreatic Cancer

Oct 22, 2012, 11:59 AM EDT

Being breast cancer awareness month, October is always chock full of events aimed to fight back against breast cancer. The Irish rowing team, on the other hand, recently held a special event in honor of a different type of cancer – one that hits a little closer to home for the team.

Last year, within five months of one another, two women very close to the hearts of the rowing team passed away from pancreatic cancer – Katherine McShane, the mother of one of the rowers, and Patricia Delano, who helped the team in Academic Services. Both women made an impact in the lives of the Irish rowing team and their deaths made the team realize how often and how tragic it is that pancreatic cancer gets overlooked.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the nastiest types of cancer, affecting thousands of people each year, with just a 6% survival rate. But still, many people do not know about this disease. “We’re just trying to get the word out about pancreatic cancer,” assistant coach Marnie Stahl said.

“Tthe disease has ties to our team, so it means a lot for us to be able to give back to the research that goes on to combat it,” added senior rower Paige Aiello. In an effort to fight this horrific disease, the team planned a fundraiser dubbed the Erg-a-thon in order to raise money and awareness for the cause of pancreatic cancer.


The Irish at the Erg-a-thon with representatives from the Kelly Cares Foundation.

Friday, Oct. 12 marked the second annual Erg-a-thon event. At the fundraiser, participants were able to test out the ergs that the rowers use to practice. Some even raced their friends and clocked how fast they were going. The event gave people a chance to see what it is like to be a rower, all while raising money for a great cause. In addition, t-shirts and wrist bands were sold with the money going to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Throughout the day, the Erg-a-thon stayed busy with plenty of kids, adults, and fellow athletes stopping by. One of the highlights of the afternoon was when the entire Notre Dame women’s tennis team made it over to challenge each other on the ergs. “It was great to see the Fighting Irish fighting cancer together,” Aiello said.  In addition to the tennis team, the Erg-a-thon also received visits from the Kelly Cares Foundation.

In total, the Irish raised $5,000 for the charity and they expect more money to be trickling in through donations. This is a big improvement from the amount of money raised last year, and the team hopes that the event will only continue to take off over the years and become a huge contributor to the fight against pancreatic cancer.

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