Bob Wright is a man on a mission. On July 29 his wife of 49 years, Suzanne, died of pancreatic cancer.
What Bob and Suzanne learned about the lack of resources being devoted to the disease during the nine months she valiantly fought for her life was so shocking he knew he had to do something about it.
“It’s a horrible situation,” says Wright, 73, who co-founded Autism Speaks with Suzanne in February 2005 after their grandson was diagnosed with autism. “There’s a lack of energy. No prioritization. No sense of urgency. The one fact that just knocks you right out is.. the mortality rate for pancreatic cancer is 93 percent. It hasn’t changed much in 40 years. There’s no cancer that has that situation.
“It’s the third leading cause of cancer deaths,” he says. “It just surpassed breast cancer.”
On Wednesday, Bob officially launched The Suzanne Wright Foundation with a national campaign entitled “Code Purple.” Despite having the highest mortality rate of all major cancers, pancreatic cancer receives only 2 percent of federal cancer research funding, he says. He hopes to increase that figure through awareness.
Suzanne & Bob Wright