Pancreatic Cancer is a drag. It’s also a disease close to Dorothy Filmore. With her mother passing away two years ago, it prompted Dorothy to get involved with the Richmond affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan).
This Saturday at the Byrd Theater, the local affiliate hosts a screening of the Patrick Swayze’s “To Wong Foo” with a fashion show by local drag ensemble Faces of Nations.
Swayze died last year after his own public battle with Pancreatic Cancer. According to Filmore, who is helping coordinate this weekend’s event, a screening of the camp classic about three drag queens on a roadtrip would be fitting to raise awareness about the disease.
As for the drag, local performer Esta Bunny is Filmore’s neighbor and helped coordinate entertainment. The event opens with the Faces of Nations modeling fashions in honor of National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month with purple as the color of the cause.
Money raised from the event will benefit Pancreatic Cancer research, advocacy, and education.
“It’s the least-funded of all cancer research,” Filmore said. “The federal government invests less money in this research than the other killers.”
Here are some other stats on the disease from PanCan:
According to PanCan, over 42,000 people will be diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer this year in the US and over 36,800 will die from the disease.
Approximately 990 deaths from Pancreatic Cancer will occur in Virginia in 2010, an increase of 50 over 2009;
Pancreatic Cancer is the deadliest cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the US;
75% of Pancreatic Cancer patients dies within the first year of diagnosis and 94% of Pancreatic Cancer patients die within the first 5 years;
There is no cure for Pancreatic Cancer and there have been no significant improvements in early detection, treatment methods or survival rates in the last 30 years;
When symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer present themselves, it is usually too late for an optimistic prognosis, and the average life expectancy of those diagnosed with metastasis disease is only 3 to 6 months;
Incidence of Pancreatic Cancer is approximately 50% higher in African Americans than in any of the other leading cancer killers; and
“There’s nothing fun about Pancreatic Cancer – we want to raise awareness and money for research and education and as a group, have some fun,” Filmore said.
Pancreatic Cancer is A Drag Fashion Show and Movie Screening of “To Wong Foo” is Saturday, November 20, 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Byrd Theater, 2908 W. Cary St. Doors open at 1 p.m. and donations are $10 at the door. Image courtesy PanCan.