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A coach's battle against pancreatic cancer

Dean Diffin teaches social studies and coaches at Centennial High School in Boise, Idaho (KBOI Staff Photo).

A beloved teacher and coach in the West Ada School District is missing out on the start of the school year because of his battle against pancreatic cancer. But, he's on a mission to make sure he's not missing out on life.

"I'm not starting school for the first time in twenty years," said Dean Diffin. "So, there's 500 freshman at Centennial that don't know me yet, but they will."

Dean Diffin teaches social studies and coaches at Centennial High School.

He's been with the district for two decades. During that time, he's impacted a lot of people.

Now, during his fight with cancer those people are huddling around him in support.

Diffin said the support he's received from the faculty and students from Centennial, the staff at St. Luke's Cancer Center, his neighbors, friends, and especially his family has been overwhelming.

On Saturday, his support system is getting together once again to walk alongside him for Purple Stride Boise, an event put on by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Purple Stride Boise is 5K walk for anyone who wants to raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer.

According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, just 9-percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States live more than five years.

That's a terrifying statistic, but Dean Diffin and his wife Leslie said that's not what they're focused on.

"We got to have the mindset that we're going to beat the stats," said Leslie.

"That's the only way you can approach it, said Dean. "I have three little kids that need me."

Those three daughters keep him busy.

With a daughter in high school, one in middle school, and another in elementary all involved in extracurricular activities, Dean said his family's always doing something and that's the way he likes it.

"You just don't miss that kind of stuff you know?"

Dean has about eight rounds of chemotherapy left and plans to be back teaching in October. He also still plans to coach softball this year.

For more information on how to join the fight against pancreatic cancer, click here.




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