Chandler baker making cookies for pancreatic cancer awareness

Selena Giffords is making cookies for donors at PanCan Purple Stride, a walk this Saturday at Salt River Fields to end pancreatic cancer.
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 5:00 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 24, 2023 at 5:53 PM MST
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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Pancreatic cancer will kill more than a thousand people in the Valley this year, according to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, or PanCan. Late Jeopardy host Alex Trebek raised awareness for spotting symptoms. His advocacy helped a Chandler man detect the disease early, giving him more precious time with his family before he died last year. Now, his daughter is raising awareness by baking in an event this weekend.

Selena Gifford is the founder of “Cookie Doughrk.” Gifford is an artist, her icing acts as a paintbrush, and the baked treats are her canvas. This particular order is a labor of love. “I have a creative gene that I’ve gotten from both of my parents, really,” said Gifford.

Gifford’s mother, Kris, remembers the creative gene from her husband, Chuck Paulausky, who used to take pictures and frame them into abstract art in simpler times before his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Paulausky died from the disease a little over a year ago.

PanCan said it’s the hardest cancer to beat, with a 12% survival rate in five years. Paulausky first noticed symptoms after watching an episode of Jeopardy when Trebek warned people about what to look out for. Kris said she will always remember the good times with her husband during his fight. “He didn’t let the disease run his life. He went on and did things because he wanted to know,” said Kris.

Now, Gifford is using her creativity passed down from her dad to raise awareness for the disease he struggled with. She’s making cookies not for just anyone but for donors at PanCan Purple Stride, a walk this Saturday at Salt River Fields to end pancreatic cancer. The goal is to raise $225,000 to help people face the disease. “It’s a neat way of giving back,” said Gifford.

The artist also has a message for survivors. “The biggest thing you can do is have a positive attitude and have hope,” said Gifford. For more information on the walk, click or tap here.