Updated: Friday, 16 Sep 2011, 7:11 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 16 Sep 2011, 6:37 AM EDT
Beacon Falls, Conn. (WTNH) - Among the thousands of people running the 20K New Haven Road Race on Labor Day you might have seen a group wearing a lot of purple. They're part of Project Purple and they're running to find a cure for pancreatic cancer .
"While it's not that well known as breast cancer and some of the bigger cancers, it is the most deadly cancer out there," Jeanine Motasky said.
Dino Verelli is the avid runner who started Project Purple when his father John was diagnosed in 2008.
"And we realized that my dad didn't have a lot of time left and we also realized, Kent, that there's not a lot done for pancreatic cancer in the sense of non-profits and research and money," Verelli said.
Dino had the idea of running 13 half marathons in 13 months to raise money for and awareness of the disease. On Labor Day, September 5th, he was supposed to be with the rest of the group in New Haven to add another race to the list. But just as the runners were warming up his father John lost his battle with cancer.
"He passed away the morning of September 5th, right before the start of the race."
While Dino couldn't run in that race, he's more determined than ever to keep moving toward his goal -- finishing all those races, yes, but also to keep racing towards a cure for what he calls an evil disease.
"I wanted to do as much as I could while he was alive with Project Purple and I know he's watching from above and he will see all the good deeds we're going to do," Verelli said. "And I made him a promise before he passed that one day we truly would help find a cure for pancreatic cancer and I'll live up to that."