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50&DC Marathon Group - 2011 Humanitarian Award Recipient

Awarded by the 50 States & D.C. Marathon Group.
[This article was originally written by Frank Jobe and featured on the 50&DC Marathon Group website ( on 12/29/2010. For the purposes of this blog, it has been revised below.]

[2010.12.25] Photo taken by Richard Chung in front of the Tortoise and Hare statue at Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx, New York City.

When you hear the term cancer, any thoughts you may have will likely be unpleasant ones.  When you hear the term pancreatic cancer, your thoughts may become grimmer yet, possibly along the lines of "low survival rate" or "short life expectancy after diagnosis".  Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death with a five-year survival rate of 6% (mortality rate of 94%).  According to the National Cancer Institute, over 43,000 Americans were estimated to have been diagnosed with the disease in 2010 with roughly 37,000 losing their lives.  75% of patients die within the first year of diagnosis.  The average life expectancy after diagnosis with metastatic disease is just three to six months.

The disease is hard to detect because of the location of the pancreas—it is deep in the abdomen and the symptoms are often vague.  There are no early detection or screening methods as there are with colon, breast or prostate cancer.  The mortality for pancreatic cancer is so high because patients are typically diagnosed when the cancer has already spread to other organs.

Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer death largely because there are no detection tools to diagnose the disease in its early stages when surgical removal of the tumor is still possible.  Early diagnosis and early treatment are two areas that need to be improved upon.  However, more funding for pancreatic cancer research is needed to enable scientists to fulfill these two research goals.  Despite being the fourth leading cause of cancer death, pancreatic cancer research funding was not one of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) 10 Most-Funded Cancers.  The NCI spent an estimated $89.7 million on pancreatic cancer research in 2009.  This represented a mere 2% of the NCI’s approximate $5 billion cancer research budget for that year, which constitutes the bulk of the U.S. federal government's cancer research funding dollars.

Low funding hinders scientific progress.  94% of pancreatic cancer patients die within five years from their diagnosis; a statistic largely unchanged in the past nearly 40 years.  In fact, pancreatic cancer is the only one of the top 10 cancer killers that still has a five-year survival rate in the single digits.  Additionally, in the same time frame, the five-year survival rate for all forms of cancer has risen from 50% to 68%, and some cancer survival rates are now 90% or above.  The sad truth is that there are few survivors to advocate for more research funding.

This year's recipient of the 50 States & D.C. Marathon Group's Humanitarian Award is Hideki Kinoshita, an individual who has lost two loved ones to this disease.  His concern for effects of this disease and his love for running were coupled together in a quest to run 14 marathons in 13 weeks.  He partnered with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to establish a fundraising goal of $10,000 to help in the research and awareness of this dreaded disease.  He set out to run one marathon a week for thirteen weeks (3 months) and in one of those weeks, he ran a back-to-back double to complete his goal of fourteen marathons.  Hideki experienced some unexpected results along the way: Four marathon PR's were set, the longest distance he ever ran was completed at 60K (37.2 miles), he met a lot of great runners along the way, and exceeded the $10,000 goal.

This 31 year old runner from New York/New Jersey has also participated in a seven person relay that raised over $26,000 for this cause and has since completed a 50-miler, a 24 hour run, and then a 100-miler.  He is halfway finished with his goal of running a marathon in all 50 states plus DC and plans to challenge himself to additional 100-mile endurance runs.

He continues to raise awareness and funding for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and aims to run for the organization's TeamHOPE charity runner group for his 50th marathon in Miami on January 30, 2011 and for his 65th marathon in Seattle on June 25, 2011.  His goal for both races is to raise $2,500.  To make a donation, visit his fundraising websites: and .

Congratulations to Hideki Kinoshita, recipient of the 2011 Humanitarian Award.  To learn more about his 14 marathons in 13 weeks endeavor, visit his fundraising website: .  To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and TeamHOPE, visit these websites: and .  To follow Hideki's races and progress, visit his website: .

Note: The above facts and figures were obtained from the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

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