Local woman grows cancer awareness by ‘planting purple’Written by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | email@example.com
A Toledo woman is trying to grow awareness of pancreatic cancer by encouraging gardeners to plant purple.
Kelly Kinney’s brother, Bret Connors of Scottsdale, Ariz., lost his three-year battle with pancreatic cancer in 2009.
“He decided to donate his organs,” Kinney said. “I think that really touched me the most because it said to me that he didn’t want other people to have to go through this. A couple of months after he died, I said, ‘I’ve go to do something, there’s really not a lot out there being done for pancreatic cancer’.”Enter Plant Purple-Grow Hope, her attempt to ultimately raise $1 million for Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Ariz., which used progressive clinical trials to help Bret live three years longer than doctors estimated.
“All of a sudden, it hit me — nature,” Kinney said. “I’m very inspired by nature, and he was an outdoorsmen. Purple is the color for pancreatic cancer awareness, so by growing purple plants and flowers, you’re growing hope.”
From May 1 through June 30, Maumee Valley Growers and 16 affiliated Northwest Ohio greenhouse retailers will take part in Plant Purple-Grow Hope, which sets aside 50 cents for every 4.5-inch purple petunia pot sold. Denim shock wave petunias were selected because of their ease of care and purple hue.
It didn’t take much for Kinney to sell the idea to TGen.
“We are thrilled that gardeners and homeowners throughout Ohio will have the opportunity to join the fight against pancreatic cancer,” said Michael Bassoff, president of the TGen Foundation, in a news release.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to TGen’s globalCure initiative, an alliance of some of the world’s leading scientists, physicians and pancreatic cancer advocates that aims to find a cure for this disease. Pancreatic cancer annually takes the lives of more than 35,000 Americans, making it the fourth-leading cause of cancer death.
Joe Perlaky, program manager for Maumee Valley Growers, said in a press release, “We are delighted to be the first grower organization in America to partner with TGen in support of this important cancer research.”
For more information and a complete list of nurseries taking part in Plant Purple-Grow Hope, visit www.maumeevalleygrowers.com.