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Walk for Tess: Husband has raised $3 million in honor of wife who died of pancreatic cancer 17 years ago

Posted at 10:15 PM, Apr 25, 2022

BALTIMORE — Ken Cunzeman met Tess at the Hot Shoppe in Parkville in 1961.

A few years later, they married at St Anthony’s Church.

When they walked out onto Frankfort Avenue, Ken promised to walk with her for the rest of time.

He kept his promise. He is still walking.

Back in 2005, Tess was complaining her stomach hurt. Said she just worked out and thought she had a pulled muscle.

However, the pain got worse. She had to go to the doctor.

On the day before their 39th anniversary, Tess was told she had pancreatic cancer.


She made one goal. She wanted to be in the delivery room for the birth of their fourth granddaughter due in February.

Darn if a miracle didn’t happen. She made it.

But another miracle didn’t occur.

Seventeen Aprils ago, Tess died of this horrible disease.

Feeling the family had to do something to honor her life and help others, Ken started “Walk for Tess."

This turned into "Purple Stride."

For the past 16 years, walkers and runners from all over the state put their purple on to fight pancreatic cancer.

The first event, there were 122 people. They raised $24,000 that year.

Now, the total is up to $3 million.

Ken Cunzeman is stepping down from leading the charge, but he is not walking away.

This Saturday at CCBC in Catonsville, thousands will walk to raise thousands of dollars. For more information on the walk, click here.

The survival rate when Tess was diagnosed was 5%. Now it is up to 11%. Strides are being made.