A team of almost fifty family and friends gives strength and courage to Mitch Sperou as he fights pancreatic cancer. Mitch’s daughter, Holly, shares their story.

My dad, Mitch, was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer with secondary liver tumours in April this year. It was a bit of a whirlwind with initial symptoms to diagnosis all within two weeks. He had been experiencing nausea and pain with eating which quickly progressed to blood tests, scans and an endoscopic biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Within two weeks of being diagnosed, dad started chemotherapy due to the advanced nature of the cancer.

Since April, it’s fair to say that we’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions, but overall things have been quite positive. Despite the chemotherapy being strong and knocking dad around a lot, the treatment seems to be working really well at the moment. The tumour count in his blood has decreased dramatically, already more than expected. Recent scans also show a reduction in the size of his tumour so that’s excellent!

Prior to dad’s diagnosis, he was an avid cycler. He’s always been keen to find ways to give back – in fact he’s previously raised over $31,000 for the Cancer Council’s Ride for a Reason. This has been our motivation to be involved in an event for a charity that is now important to us. In fact, our team name “Mitchstrong” was coined by my cousin after cyclists Lance Armstrong’s charity “Livestrong” because of dad’s love of bike riding.

Our team for Walk for Hope is made up of our beautiful friends and family – we even have family friends travelling interstate to participate in the walk and support dad! We are incredibly lucky and grateful to have such an amazing and positive support network who have been with us every step of the way throughout this journey.

It can very confronting and overwhelming when your loved one receives a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer – especially when you turn to Google for more information and are hit with the statistics. Despite the statistics, I believe it’s important to try and live in the present and not spend too much time and energy worrying and anticipating what the future holds.

By participating in Walk for Hope, we hope to help raise funds for other families fighting pancreatic cancer. We’ve been encouraging others to donate to our team by texting friends, posting to Facebook and sharing dad’s story. Our hope is that there can be more funding for clinical trials to help improve patient outcomes.