The year that was…

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Was that only a week ago?

We’re debriefing on World Pancreatic Cancer Day 2017 and we’re still pinching ourselves that it all actually happened.

When we started #PurpleOurWorld, we wrote down our goals…

  • Light a major icon up in purple, for example Sydney Opera House
  • Convince a corporate organisation to turn their website purple for the month of November
  • Get Messina to create a purple ice cream flavour
  • Have a sports team on board
  • Partner with a sporting event

Let’s start with that first one, shall we? We thought it was a pipe-dream. Something that would take years, a decade even, to get done.

#PurpleOurWorld was founded in October 2014. It’s November 2017, just three years later. And those beautiful, spectacular, famous sails of the Sydney Opera House turned purple for pancreatic cancer.

Of course, we didn’t do this on our own.

When we first sat down with our fellow members of the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance in July 2015, we mentioned our goal of lighting up the Sydney Opera House. And together we got it done. We can’t speak highly enough of our fellow members of the Alliance and we’re honoured to be working alongside such incredible charities and researchers who are doing such brilliant things in the pancreatic cancer space.

Watching the sails turn purple was truly a ‘pinch me’ moment. Of course, our minds turned to Rochelle. And while we would give anything to have her with us, lighting up the Opera House in her memory, and all those we have lost, is a fitting tribute. We’re not quite sure how we top this next year.

And then we turn to the rest of the list.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day was backed by Ramsay Health Care in Australia and Westfield around the world. If you were walking through a Westfield in Australia, you may have been part of the 1.5 million people to see the graphics displayed on the screen. In the US and UK, graphics were displayed in all Westfield centres, including the World Trade Centre. What a sight that was!

We also thank the Qantas Cabin Crew Cancer Support Group who supported our cause on their social media pages and Todae Solar who turned their website and LinkedIn pages purple.

And for the third year in a row, Gelato Messina created a #PurpleOurWorld flavour – a resounding (and delicious) success.

After the high of the Opera House on the eve of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, we turned our attention to the day itself. And we watched as Federal and State Ministers shared posts of support on social media, including The Hon. Greg Hunt (Federal Minister for Health), The Hon. Brad Hazzard (NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research) and The Hon. David Elliott (NSW Minister for Counter Terrorism, Corrections and Veterans Affairs). And we were wowed when the Members of NSW Parliament wore purple ribbons during the NSW Legislative Assembly Question Time. So fitting considering Sydney, NSW kicked off the global World Pancreatic Cancer Day campaign.

And then, we turned our attention to the rest of the world as Niagara Falls, Trafalgar Square, Madison Square Garden and LAX (among others) turned purple. We saw newsreaders, actors and social media influencers speak openly on social media, wearing purple to Demand Better for pancreatic cancer.

We truly saw the global effort.

As Julie Fleshman, President and CEO of PanCAN, US and Chair of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition said, we painted the world purple!

A few thanks from us here at #PurpleOurWorld.

  • Thanks to Ramsay Health Care, Westfield, the Qantas crew, Todae Solar and Gelato Messina.
  • To Quay Restaurant and the Fink Group, for an incredible function to celebrate the sails of the Sydney Opera House turning purple. Thank you also to the lovely Peter Overton for being a tremendous MC and sharing such beautiful stories about the late Peter Harvey.
  • To the Federal and State ministers, thank you for bringing attention to pancreatic cancer.
  • To Shareable Apps for creating and updating our #PurpleOurWorld app. To keep up with everything #PurpleOurWorld, text PURPLE to 0400 813 813 or email PURPLE to
  • To our amazing ambassadors, Tracey Spicer and Robbie Farah – thank you for your invaluable support.
  • Thank you to our charity partners and fellow Pancreatic Cancer Alliance members – Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, GI Cancer Institue and Pancare Foundation – we are in awe of the work you do. Thank you also to Karen Livingstone and Tracey Spicer for the work they do with the Alliance.
  • And finally, to you… our family, our community. Thank you for helping us paint the world purple.

Bring on 2018!

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