BREWER, Maine (WABI) - After a beloved celebrity announced his cancer diagnosis recently, a Brewer woman reached out with her story.
Christina Parrish says it's all part of her mission to help everyone with cancer fight it with some of the best medicine: hope.
"I started the day I was diagnosed learning to live again."
The news no one wants to hear: you have cancer. Christina Parrish says it has not been easy, but after being told she only had six months left, she decided she was going to beat pancreatic cancer with positivity and hope.
That was nearly 11 years ago.
"I went to war with my own body and came out the other side, so it's really just about taking time to grieve or grieve the life you don't have anymore but realize that you can have a better life."
Now, along with other pancreatic cancer survivors, she's written a letter to the host of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek, who recently announced he has stage four pancreatic cancer. Trebek says although he joins 50-thousand other people diagnosed in the country each year, like Parrish, he will fight this.
"When I was diagnosed, there were no survivor stories, and so now he has so many survivor stories out there that people are surviving this. And that can only bring hope. So as long as he gets hope from it, I'm good."
Through her journey, Parrish has become what she calls a "purveyor of hope" in the community through her Purple Iris Fondation, the driving force behind annual projects devoted to supporting others battling cancer, including her newest endeavor.
"Weve created the Maine Cancer Outdoor Adventure Program where patients, caregivers, survivors all come together and realize what the outdoors can bring them."
She says she hasn't heard from Trebek and doesn't expect to but is proud to share her journey to give him hope.
'I'm here ten and a half years longer than I was supposed to be. So to be able to share that it's possible and you can do it. It's going to be hard, but you can do it. You can live with this is something that just gives hope to people. And when you can bring hope to somebody, that's probably the best thing you can ever do in your life."