FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - At 68 years old, Debra Gutmann is dying her hair purple.
“Inside, I feel like I’m 30," Gutmann said.
Her new hairstyle is not just to look trendy and youthful; she’s dying her hair to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer.
Eighteen years ago, her husband Ron passed away from the disease.
“He was a big strong guy, hardly ever sick and it took a lot out of him,” she said.
Up until his final days, he tried to stay active, even keeping up with the landscaping of their home.
“He loved to mow, his mower was very important to him,” she said.
For the past 15 years, the Gutmann family has fundraised for pancreatic cancer research.
Because of COVID-19, they had to cancel their annual pancake breakfast.
That’s when friend Dan Austin, had an idea:
“I figured, if I can dye my goatee purple and bring some visuals to this cause, then I’m all in,” the K105 radio host said.
They’re partnering with Evolve Spa on Coventry Lane for the month of November.
The salon will have a donation box and will match whatever is made up to $500.
Plus, anyone who comes in can get a purple hairstreak in their hair for $10.
Salon Manager Rachael Foos says people aren’t as educated about the disease as they should be.
“It’s not as well known as what breast cancer is, so we’re having people get the purple streaks to raise awareness to it," Foos said. "You can learn a little more and get tested.”
For many, pancreatic cancer is a death sentence. The disease has a low survival rate - between five and 10 percent.
Researchers are still looking for a cure.
Gutmann hopes that her husband Ron is watching down on the work she’s doing and gets a kick out of her purple mane.
“I’m sure he would be very pleased,” she said.