Star Trek’s Jonathan Frakes Is On A Bold New Mission

Jonathan Frakes of Star Trek fame has now joined the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to combat pancreatic cancer.

By Mark McKee | Published

Star Trek is a franchise that has developed a ton of big names, from Willaim Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, and George Takei to the newer crops of captains like Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, and Sonequa Martin-Green. Pancreatic cancer is another thing that has affected the industry by invading the bodies of some big names like Alex Trabek, Joan Crawford, Michael Landon, Patrick Swayze, Alan Rickman, and John Hurt. The two have now hit head-on as one of the most popular and prolific actors in the Star Trek franchise, Jonathan Frakes, has used his Enterprise voice to bring awareness about the disease by joining the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, according to Forbes

The Star Trek: Next Generation actor teamed up with the president of PanCAN to develop the PanCAN Purple Stride program, which inspires and registers local events for people to raise money to fund research on pancreatic cancer. On the Purple Stride website, the program boasts that Jonathan Frakes’ advocation has brought in a 900% increase in federal funding for the study of the disease, over a million volunteers working tirelessly to spread the word, and 300,000 medical professionals looking to get involved with the program. Purple Stride sets up a date and time for an event in different states throughout the year, and teams come together to compete to raise money for the big day. 

jonathan frakes

Unfortunately for Jonathan Frakes, the subject of pancreatic cancer is a very personal one for him, as his brother succumbed to the disease in 1997. According to the former number two of the Enterprise, his brother Daniel was given six to eight months to live and ended up dying only a week before Frakes’ daughter was born. When he passed away, the chances of someone surviving pancreatic cancer were a dismal four percent; nowadays, it is up to eleven percent, which is still dreadful but nearly three times better. 

Jonathan Frakes is best known for his time in the Star Trek Universe as Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation and all of its sequels and films; he is also the only actor other than Patrick Stewart to appear in every episode of the series. While he is likely the most famous of the Enterprise crew outside of Picard, his loyal fans may know that before donning the red shirt, he worked for Marvel Comics by appearing as Captain America at conventions. 

While Jonathan Frakes may be known for his acting and the work in front of the camera, he is also prevalent behind the camera as he has directed numerous episodes for not only Star Trek but also RoswellLeverageCastleBurn NoticeAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Librarians. He may be one of the most under the radar busiest men in Hollywood, but he is making time to do good for those around him, in honor of his brother. If you or anyone you know is dealing with pancreatic cancer, or if you just want to promote living long and prospering, check out Frakes’ work at PanCAN’s Purple Stride.