NEWBURYPORT – Tens of thousands will gather in Hopkinton on April 21 to run the 2014 Boston Marathon, and among them will be 26-year Newburyport native Jack Pattie, who will run both in memory of his brother and for Project Purple: A not-for-profit organization focused on raising money for the fight against pancreatic cancer.
Pattie has experienced his fair share of family tragedy. At age 19, he lost his twin brother to heart failure, and he later lost his 42-year-old sister to diabetes. He also experienced the loss of his parents before suffering alongside his brother Jimmy as he fought pancreatic cancer.
The fight against cancer is oftentimes multidimensional. While Jimmy, a former reading specialist at Concord-Carlisle High School, fought the disease, he wasn’t alone in the struggle. The disease had a brutal impact on several of his family members who watched as he took an immediate turn for the worst after a heavily invasive surgery.
“The after-care is really extensive in terms of healing at home after the surgery,” Pattie said. “When my brother came home he had four tubes in him.
He had spent 12 days in the hospital. Nowadays, people spend two days in the hospital for heart surgery, which shows how invasive his surgery was.
“After that, he did well and rallied and we thought he was doing better,” he continued. “He was doing well for a while, then there was a dramatic step-off at the end from feeling OK to the disease starting to attack his body. The downward spiral was dramatic; they said he basically had two years left and it was close to being very accurate.”
Jimmy passed away February of 2013 at age 64. Pattie, already an experienced runner with marathon experience, decided to join Project Purple; a charity that focuses on the funding of research for the disease and the aiding of families who are currently suffering from it.