Claire Zampine Muollo was a Quincy, MA resident and graduate of Braintree High School. Claire was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in July 2009. On July 29, 2009 she underwent an 11-hour operation called The Whipple Procedure. She received chemotherapy for over four years at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Pancreatic cancer had its effects on her. When Claire became ill, she weighed 135 pounds and decreased to 97 pounds. The pancreatic cancer metastasized to her lungs in October 2010 and she lived with neuropathy in both her hands and feet. After the operation when Claire could get around better, she continued with chemotherapy as well as alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and attended a healing class. In her own words:
“I am positive that my faith, sense of humor, perseverance and the above have all contributed to my longevity. I thank God for every morning and day and spend as much time doing the important things. I know my life journey has its obstacles, but we can overcome them by having a positive attitude and the support of family and friends. Some days are tough, teary and weary. I still keep busy as best I can.”
During Claire’s fight against pancreatic cancer, she realized the passion the pancreatic research doctors at Dana Farber Cancer Institute have to better detect the disease in its early stages, to allow those inflicted with this disease to have a better quality of life, and ultimately, to find a cure. Sitting around her dining room table, Claire told her two sons Robert, then age 25, and David, then age 18, that she would like to do something to help fight this cancer. They urged her not to just talk about it, but to do it! So, in October 2010 Claire made this her crusade and organized the first PROMISES FOR PURPLE PANCREATIC CANCER AWARENESS WALK. Claire formed a committee of two other Marine moms, her sons, neighbor, niece and sisters. To promote the cause, she mailed informational letters and personally visited local businesses. Claire was interviewed at a local TV station twice and featured in local newspapers. Claire continued marketing efforts by contacting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and received small purple ribbons to distribute to our participants and informative brochures on the disease. The response was overwhelming. Naturally, everything was purple!
Walk day is an emotional one for Robert, David and the extended family. Everyone arrives at the Walk wearing purple. With all her visits for chemotherapy and massage at the cancer institute, they knew Claire as the “Purple Lady” and have since persuaded the gift shops at two locations of DFCI to highlight areas of their shops each November with purple items for pancreatic cancer. Claire’s ideas to raise awareness had no boundaries. She always wanted to see local and national sports players wear purple each November! Claire was extremely thankful for the love, prayers and support from her two sons, other family members, friends, co-workers, volunteers and vendors during her fight against pancreatic cancer.
Through her tireless and dedicated hard work, Promises for Purple Pancreatic Cancer Awareness has raised over $162,000. If you would like to support the research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on pancreatic cancer, please donate online. If you prefer, you can mail a paper check payable to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Pancreatic Cancer Research, Promises for Purple, P.O. Box 850494, Braintree, MA 02185. Remember to put your name and address on your check.
In her words: “On behalf of myself and many other pancreatic cancer patients currently, past and unfortunately in the future, thank you for your support!”