Lauren Burke (COM ’16)

Meet Lauren Burke (COM ’16)! From Norwell, MA Lauren is making strides in her work with Promises for Purple, pancreatic cancer awareness and funding organization, started by her Great Aunt Claire. After Claire passed from the disease in 2014, Lauren and the rest of the Promises for Purple team have been doing everything in their power to carry on Claire’s legacy and dreams of finding a cure. With their help and the help of volunteers, walkers, donators, and students here at BU, Claire and the Promises for Purple team will hopefully someday see their dream come true. Learn all about Lauren, Claire, Promises for Purple and GET INVOLVED!!

Tell me a little about Promises for Purple! What is it, where/how did it start and how big is involvement (nationally and locally) today?

Promises for Purple is a grass-root, volunteer organization that raises awareness and funds to benefit pancreatic cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. My great-aunt, Claire Zampine Muollo, started Promises for Purple in 2009 shortly after her own personal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Every Friday night during the months of August-November, my family and I meet at my aunt’s house. We all sit around her small dining room table and have our PFP meetings in order to organize the annual 5k-benefit walk.

While enduring over four years of chemotherapy, Claire and the PFP committee successfully executed three family-friendly 5k walks raising nearly $100,000. Recently, Dana-Farber’s Dr. Brian Wolpin conducted successful research for pancreatic cancer. Promises for Purple was one of the primary financial supporters of this conducted research. To read more on the preformed research, please visit: http://www.dana-farber.org/Newsroom/News-Releases/Researchers-identify-early-sign-of-pancreatic-cancer.aspx

Sadly, Ms. Muollo succumbed to cancer in April of 2014. However, my family and I are determined to continue her mission in helping to find a cure for this disease. We will be hosting the 4th Annual Benefit Walk on Sunday, November 9th.  Each year at the walk, we offer an opportunity drawing. Some prizes that we have gotten over the years include: a custom-made, signed Tony Hawk skateboard, signed footballs from The New England Patriots, Red Sox luxury box seats, a gift certificate for a personal chef and a NYC weekend get away.

This year, The Prudential Center, TD Garden, The Hyatt in Cambridge, South Station, and the Zakim Bridge, will be partnering with Promises for Purple. On the weekend of November 8th-9th, these buildings will all be lit purple, the symbolic color for pancreatic cancer, in order to spread awareness for this disease.

Promises for Purple is clearly something very close to your heart. How/why did you end up getting involved?

My great aunt, Claire Zampine Muollo, was one of my true inspirations. Her determination, passion and dedication to family and life are some of the traits that I admired her for and choose to replicate in my own life. Her pro-active attitude and dedication to stand up for something that she believed in has motivated me to help her succeed in her missions and goals in regards to pancreatic cancer. I often find myself asking the common question of: “why do bad things happen to good people?” Although the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer for Claire was not fair and very unfortunate, it resulted in my family uniting together as the purple crusade in support of my aunt. This organization constantly reminds me the meaning behind family, love and achievement; similar in the way that Claire valued her own life.

Why do you think Pancreatic Cancer needs even more attention that it receives?  Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers, for which survival has not improved substantially for over nearly 40 years. The American Cancer Society stated that about 46,420 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year and about 39,590 die from pancreatic cancer annually. According to The National Cancer Institute report, an estimated $97.1 million was spent on pancreatic cancer research in 2010. This represented a mere 2% of the NCI’s approximate $5 billion cancer research budget for that year. Promises for Purple has raised nearly $100,000 since it’s inception in 2011. This money has helped directly support the cost of pancreatic cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institution in Boston, MA.

What sort of things do you do in the Promises for Purple community?

I work with the rest of the Promises for Purple team to plan and execute our annual walk. Together, we network with various business and organizations to ask for donations and/or sponsorships for the annual event. Our mission is to get the word out about pancreatic cancer and do something about the underfunded research.

How are you trying to get Promises for Purple’s voice heard?

I am the coodinator for marketing and public relations for Promises for Purple. As I mentioned before, we will be launching the #lightbostonpurple campaign on November 8th-9th. The committee and I have worked hard to network with a variety of well known buildings in Boston. The Prudential Center, TD Garden, South Station, The Zakim Bridge and the Hyatt in Cambridge have all agreed to partner with Promises for purple and have their exterior lights shine purple during that weekend. A press release for this campaign has been sent to newspapers, news stations, bloggers and radio stations.

How can BU students get involved with Promises for Purple?

We would love to see a group of students participate in the walk on November 9th. Braintree High School is only an hour train ride from BU, so it is close by! We are also encouraging the people of Boston to take pictures of the purple lit buildings during the weekend of November 8-9 and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the soon-to-be trending handle, #lightbostonpurple and #promisesforpurple.

Are there any Promises for Purple events coming up that we should know about?

Yes, we will be hosting our 4th Annual Family Friendly 5k Walk. The walk is on November 9th.  The walk will open at 12pm, and the walk will start at 1pm. There is a $30 fee to walk. To register, please visit www.promisesforpurple.org. At the walk, we will also be having an opportunity drawing with prizes ranging from an electric guitar, a Happy Hour basket and a Boston Sports Fan basket.

We will also be hosting a #lightbostonpurple campaign. On the weekend of November 8 and 9, The Prudential Center, The Zakim Bridge, South Station, TD Garden and the Hyatt in Cambridge will all be lit purple in order to help spread pancreatic cancer awareness. We are encouraging people to take pictures of the purple lit buildings and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the soon-to-be trending handle, #lightbostonpurple and #promisesforpurple.

 

Check out the Promises for Purple Website!

www.promisesforpurple.org

Join the Facebook Page!

Promises For Purple: Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Walk

Follow Promises for Purple on Twitter!

@PFPawareness

Follow Promises for Purple on Insatgram!

Promises_For_Purple

Lauren, Claire and the Promises for Purple Team