Sunday’s LA Marathon will mark the completion of a year-long journey for Julie Weiss of Santa Monica. When the "Marathon Goddess" crosses the finish line Sunday, she will have run 52 marathons in 52 weeks in an effort to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.
“People don’t realize what we’re dealing with here,” Weiss said. "It's almost like a death sentence.”
Her mission to raise $1 million for pancreatic cancer research is a personal one.
“When my father was diagnosed, I had no idea. I felt helpless. And, I found the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,” said Weiss.
Her father, Maurice Weiss died in 2010, just one month after his diagnosis. Once diagnosed, the five-year survival rate for the cancer is only 6 percent.
Pancreatic cancer research is one of the least-funded forms of cancer, despite being the fourth leading cause of cancer death. It is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer death by 2020.
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To date, the Marathon Goddess has run 1,362 miles at marathons all over the country. Amazingly, the 42-year-old has not suffered one injury.
“My angels! I mean, I could not have done it without my angels,” said Weiss.
The mother of two, who holds down a full-time job, has raised nearly $175,000 so far. She credits the memories of her dad and others who have suffered with pancreatic cancer fueling her 42-year-old legs.
“I look to their picture for strength and I imagine their spirit running with me,” she said.
People can help Julie Weiss reach her goal of raising one million dollars to help researchers find a cure for pancreatic cancer by donating at MarathonGoddess.com.