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World Pancreatic Cancer Day, Remembering the legacy of Coach Dean Diffin

After a long fight, Coach Dean Diffin of Centennial High School lost his battle with pancreatic cancer this past weekend. (KBOI Staff Photo)

November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, where many in our community are bringing the fight to the statehouse.

They're sporting the color purple, and for many in the Treasure Valley... this color and cause, have a truly personal meaning.

"I'll miss his smile, and his laughter," says fellow Centennial teacher Heather Ward, " I'll miss being around the corner from him teaching."

After a long fight, Coach Dean Diffin of Centennial High School lost his battle with pancreatic cancer this past weekend.

He worked at the school for two decades, and during that time, impacted countless students, parents, and co-workers.

They say, throughout his treatment, his spirits never wavered,

"Dean never let it affect him at all. He would say, we are gonna fight this and we're good. He had the most uplifting spirit from the get go."

Coach Diffin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer more than two years ago.

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate among all major cancers, with a five year survival rate of just nine percent.

According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, one of those reasons, is a lack of screening and early diagnosis.

"Pancreatic cancer symptoms are very common symptoms." says Nichole Velasquez with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, "That's why it is so difficult to diagnose, lower back pain, abdominal issues, indigestion."

Despite, statistics stacked against him, Coach Diffin continued to fight on.

Over the course of his treatment, friends tell me he was always there. Even this past August when he was unable to start the school year on time, he still made it to his daughter's volleyball games, and the community rallied around him.

Coach Diffin left a mark on the community and a legacy for the three children he leaves behind.

"His other kids will come through here and they will always remember what their dad did while he was here."

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