BOISE -- In October, we see a lot of pink for breast cancer awareness month. November's purple ribbons are worn to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.
When you see a group of people gathered with purple balloons this month, they may be smiling and laughing, but chances are there are also tears.
You don't live through seeing a loved one die of pancreatic cancer without the tears. Audrey Bowers knows them well.
We first met Audrey last year as she and her husband Jim were checking off the last few items on his bucket list which included renewing their wedding vows, meeting the newest addition to the family and fulfilling Jim's lifelong dream to ride in a helicopter.
Jim's fight with pancreatic cancer ended days later, but it's his final wish that brings us back to Jim's story a year later.
"After all I've been through I would certainly like to have people to be aware of pancreatic cancer because it's a devastating disease," said Jim in an interview with KTVB last year.
Yes, it is one of the most lethal cancers, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., yet pancreatic cancer research is one of the least funded.
Doing what she can, Audrey is trying to change that with a substantial donation to the doctors who cared for Jim and their research at St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute.
"In the scheme of things, this amount of money is but a drop in the bucket, but it is given with the hope of inspiring others to give," said Audrey
"For a small gift of kindness turns into something that is precious and allows an enormous feeling of a job well done," said Dr. Krishna C. Alluri, medical oncologist and hematologist at MSTI.
"I think one of the beauties of today is coming back to Jim's story," said Dr. Dan Zuckerman, also a medical oncologist and hematologist. "Audrey's made a wonderful gift to MSTI, and the research we do at MSTI, and somewhat increasing the awareness in the community about how much clinical research and clinical trials is down here at the Mountain State Tumor Institute, and how important it is in terms of donations coming in to support that donation."
Research that is showing hopeful signs but has a long way to go and needs many more purple balloons raising awareness so more survivors will have more years to live out their own bucket lists.
Audrey's donation will go to MSTI's pancreatic cancer research which is enrolling patients in some of the most promising experimental treatments being tested.
It's hoped that those research trials will eventually lead to a cure for pancreatic cancer.
If you would like to donate to St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute click here.