When Chantal Diem laces up her sneakers and walks across the Ringling Bridge Nov. 13, she won’t just be going out for her usual morning exercise. Diem will be participating in the Sarasota Walk. She will be walking in memory of her friend, Roseanne Roche, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2005.
Diem and Roche got to know each other playing tennis together at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, where they became fast friends.
“We used to play every Saturday morning and go out for coffee afterwards,” Diem said. “She was always organizing outings for everyone and trying to get people together.”
When Longboat resident Nancy Flemming, founder of the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Foundation, called the tennis center in late 2005 looking for someone to head up a team in the foundation’s first Sarasota Walk, Diem immediately seized the opportunity to honor her friend.
“It was easy to think of a team name,” says Diem, who decided to call her group “The Three R’s” for
“Remembering Roseanne Roche.” With 16 people currently signed up for her team, Diem is confident this year’s Sarasota Walk will be a success.
The sixth annual Sarasota Walk will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, starting at J.D. Hamel Park, in Sarasota. The 2.8-mile course will go across the John Ringling Bridge to Bird Key Park and back.
“The walk is not only about paying tribute to those we have lost but is also about gaining a better understanding of this disease,” says Flemming, who founded the organization in 2004 after losing her husband, Harry, to pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and an estimated 43,000 new cases will be diagnosed in 2010 according to The National Cancer Institute. These numbers led to the 2009 proclamation of November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, in Sarasota.
The walk will feature a tribute board where participants can write the name and age of anyone they have lost to pancreatic cancer, and there will also be educational booths and info sessions by pancreatic-cancer researchers.
“The energy there is just unbelievable,” says Flemming. “To see people and families coming together is a beautiful thing.”
Pre-registration for the walk has ended, but participants may register starting at 8 a.m. the morning of the walk. For more information, visit www.sarasotawalk.org or call 202-296-0567.
Note: The phone number listed in the Nov. 4 issue of The Longboat Observer for the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Foundation was incorrect. The correct phone number is listed above.
IF YOU GO
What: Sarasota Walk
When: 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13; registration starts at 8 a.m.
Where: J.D. Hamel Park, Sarasota
Information: Visit www.sarasotawalk.org or call 202-296-0567
Contact Maria Amodio at email@example.com.