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Bringing awareness to the heartache of pancreatic cancer

Newswatch 16's Mindi Ramsey met a family in Northampton County who knows the struggles of pancreatic cancer all too well. She sat down with them to hear their story.

BUSHKILL, Pa. — Jen Bowen and Krista Reiger are two sisters who love to talk about their dad with as much spunk as he showed on a daily basis.

Gary Dietterick from Bushkill Township took fishing trips to Alaska and hunted moose there too, bagging a big one. He owned a butchering business, processing deer during hunting season, and neighbors knew where to get a good Christmas ham.

"My dad, honestly, you all think your dad is the biggest guy in the world, the strongest. He really was, but it took someone so big and so strong, in seven weeks, just wore him down."

That diagnosis that wore him down was pancreatic cancer. It took less than two months for this 67-year-old husband, father, and grandfather to go from busy outdoorsman to lying in a hospice bed.

"Obviously, he was upset he was leaving us and my mom. He was most upset about leaving his grandkids. That's all he would cry about. 'Please take care of them.' And sad he wasn't going to get to watch them grow up."

Gary fought, and his family fought, calling every doctor and specialist possible. But the cancer kept spreading. He died in June of last year. Now his daughters are on a mission.

Joining a movement of thousands, they created a team with his childhood nickname—Booger's Brigade. That team will be walking in the Pancan Purple Stride event this Saturday in Scranton.

"This has been something fun, this walk coming forward, something fun to kind of distract us, so it's kind of been something nice and motivating to work on.'

They want to keep their father's memory alive while raising money to help other pancreatic cancer patients and their families.  

"He had a big heart...I think he would be proud of us."

Click here if you'd like to donate money or register for the walk.

We want to see YOU at #PanCANPurpleStride this Saturday, 4/29! 💜👟 Don't miss out on the ultimate walk to end...

Posted by Pancreatic Cancer Action Network on Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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