This Sunday, the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis will be ablaze with amethyst-colored light, a striking display meant to draw attention to a profilic but low-profile killer: pancreatic cancer.
The spectacle is the work of the Twin Cities affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Juan Falcon, a Burnsville resident and six year survivor. Falcon was tasked with getting approval from the Minnesota Department of Transportation for the display.
"I was excited to be able to use this significant bridge as a way to create awareness for pancreatic cancer," Falcon said.
Falcon is one of the lucky few. Though the cancer is the fourth most common in the U.S. there are few treatment options and no early detection methods. About 74 percent of those afflicted with the disease die within 12 months of their initial diagnosis. Just 6 percent survive beyond the five-year mark.
In conjunction with the bridge lighting, PanCan is hosting an event called the PurpleLight National Vigil for Hope to honor both survivors and the fallen. The vigil begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, at the south steps of the Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Martin Luther King Drive in St. Paul. The vigil is free, but registration is required to enter the names of loved ones into the ceremony. Please register at www.purplelight.org.
Following the vigil, the group plans to migrate to Minneapolis for a view of the bridge.