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Hello, I’m Jane Ehrenstrom, a local Chicagoan with a heartfelt request for your support of a very worthy cause – the PurpleStride-Chicago 5K on April 26th, sponsored by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

PurpleStride Graphic

My brother, Curt Ehrenstrom, was one of 10 teachers in 2013 awarded the Golden Apple, a prestigious honor bestowed for excellence in teaching. As a physics teacher and coach at Mt. Carmel High School on the city’s south side for 30 years, Coach E – as he’s known at school – is respected and loved by his students.

Shortly after this happy day, Curt was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, the 4th deadliest cancer with, at best, only 6% of those afflicted surviving 5 years. Our mother also passed away from this insidious disease in the late 80’s. Pancreatic Cancer research is the most underfunded of all cancer studies, which most likely contributes to the mortality rate. While we all took the news hard, Curt continues to have one of the most positive outlooks in life – my sister says he’s pathologically affable (as this great image shows).

A glimpse into my brother’s hilarious and irreverent sense of humor can be seen in this video that Mt. Carmel prepared to honor (roast) Coach E for the Golden Apple Award.

By this time, Curt was feeling pretty poorly, but Fr. Tony Mazurkiewicz, Mt. Carmel High School’s President and former student of Curt, got him down to school where he discovered all the students assembled and clothed in t-shirts printed on the front with “Coach E = MC,” and on the back, “Lead like Coach E.” Mt. Carmel gave one to each of our family members as well.


My brother Curt is a treasure. He’s more than an award-winning teacher and coach. Curt is a husband, father of 4, brother to 7 siblings, brother-in-law, cousin, nephew, uncle and friend to many. We had to do something. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is a nationwide network of people dedicated to working together to advance research, support patients and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer. Annually, they hold a 5K, called PurpleStride, across several geographies as a major source of fundraising for Research, Patient Services, Community Outreach and Government Affairs and Advocacy programs. We formed a team called Coach E’s Odd Squad. We are 88 members strong and growing, and have raised more than $25,000 to date!

We have only 9 days left. PurpleStride-Chicago is being held on April 26, 2014 kicks-off at 8:30 at Montrose Harbor with registration. About 1 in 78 people risk being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, and my brother, family, and I know that we and all those affected would appreciate any help you can give towards this fight. Please help raise funds for research and more to help double the pancreatic cancer survival rate and help my brother, Coach E. Just click on Coach E’s Odd Squad to donate.

Thank you,
Jane Ehrenstrom, Coach E’s Odd Squad Team Captain and Curt’s grateful sister

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