Letters to the Editor

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By The Staff

Westport resident is battling pancreatic cancer

To the editor: Although it will kill over 34,000 Americans in 2009, pancreatic cancer often went unnoticed and unacknowledged by the general public, until now.  Over the past few years, the pancreatic cancer community has experienced an unprecedented moment in the spotlight, with the high profile and public battles against this disease by the inspirational Carnegie Mellon professor and author of “The Last Lecture” Randy Pausch, actor Patrick Swayze, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among others. Sadly, Pausch lost his battle to pancreatic cancer in July.  While we mourn the loss of such a great and courageous man, we also point to his passing as an example of the tragic reality of the current state of pancreatic cancer treatment options and efficacy. I am a volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in Kentucky. I have this disease but I do not want to become one of the statistics.  We need to find a cure. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cancer killer in the United States, and the five-year survival rate is a dismal 5 percent, yet it receives a mere 2 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget.   On March 31st, more than 400 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Volunteers will visit Washington, D.C. to ask Congress to support the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act. Let us support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and our neighbors who are fighting this disease or who have lost their loved ones to it as they advocate for greater awareness and more resources to fight pancreatic cancer.  As Pausch told Congress in 2008, “There is something wrong when one of the deadliest cancers receives so little attention.”   Kathy Hockersmith, Westport   Use your turn signals To the editor: “Got T’SIGNALS?”, “USE ‘EM” This is my new bumper sticker for everyone who drives a motor vehicle.   1951 model year vehicles had to have turn signals on every steering wheel and motorcycles and all-terrain were added later.   The signal isn’t for the driver, but for the rest of us who are driving. We would like to know if you are about to do  something.   Driving a government vehicle, police car, fire engine, SUV, compact, school bus, bus, truck, hearse or anything on wheels means it is the law to use them. When you change lanes, enter and exit interstate, expressway, turning lanes, turning, merge, and a few more use your turn signals.   Turn signals blink between once or twice at most per second, and when you’re driving at 60 MPH you’re moving at 60 feet per second.   The law when I got my license in 1958 was 200 feet before turn or after you passed the last turn place and before you got to your turn. A few extra blinks hurts no one and remember its first  turn signal then brake light.   We as adults and drivers need to be good examples to the youth about driving.   One last thing. “STOP” means stop and proceed with care, not roll through ‘cause no one’s there. Occasionally you might get a surprise from the law or an accident.   John Nichols, Crestwood