Your stories of hope

Liz Crewe

For Liz Crewe, the pain of loosing her father after a short battle with pancreatic cancer has ignited a passion to raise awareness on the disease to ensure progress is made in early detection.

“My dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the end of October 2016. The diagnosis came as a complete shock, as he went in to the hospital for what we thought would end up being something far less serious. I remember sitting in the room with him when the oncologist introduced herself to us. Dad didn’t understand at first when she was seeing him but my heart sank straight away.

Sadly, 12 weeks to the day dad passed away. It all happened so quick, as it often does with pancreatic cancer. One minute he seemed so fit and next minute he was gone.”

I’ll be proudly participating in Pancare’s Walk for Hope this year in memory of my dad. Together, we can support one another and make a difference for pancreatic cancer.”

Jenny McKie

Jenny McKie was the top fundraiser at Pancare’s inaugural Walk for Hope in 2018. This year, she’ll be back proudly walking in memory of her brother Stan, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in April 2018.

“My brother Stan had been progressively experiencing ill health with symptoms that were being attributed to other illnesses by his GP such as gastro, stomach ulcers and stress to name a few. Tired of having no firm answers to his ailing health, the final straw came when he fell chronically ill on this 43rd birthday and visited another GP pleading with him to find the problem. After a stomach biopsy tested positive for secondary cancer, the race was on to find the location of the primary cancer. On Friday 13 October 2017, Stan received his diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer and was given two to three months to live. Determined to beat the odds, Stan underwent chemotherapy to prolong his life. Stan valiantly fought through six rounds of chemotherapy but experienced terrible sickness throughout. He passed away on 12 April 2018.

I’m determined to see developments in early detection and treatment options for pancreatic cancer to help improve outcomes for other families. Thanks to the generous support of family, friends and colleagues, I was proud to raise over $6,000 for Pancare Foundation at last years event. We need to see a significant change in survival rates to give people hope for a longer, brighter future – and with your support we can.

Julian Jefferis

Appreciating the small things and enjoying life, is something that Julian Jefferis has focused on since being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of just 33.

“I was living the life of a normal person in their early 30s. My wife and I had just bought a house to renovate and were starting to plan for a family. We had just travelled overseas to for our friends’ wedding. I was loving my job and really starting to hit my strides in my career.

Then in November of 2017, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The type of pancreatic cancer (acinar cell carcinoma) that I have is rare – only about 1% of pancreatic cancers are considered to be this type. Because of this, there is very little evidence on what treatments do and do not work. I’ve had several rounds of chemotherapy and recently had surgery to remove the tumors from my pancreas and liver.

Although, life has changed completely, the biggest change has been to do with my attitude towards life and that of my family. We are still building a house and hoping to have kids, but we realise that life is short and nothing can be taken for granted. Amongst all my treatments I have not been able to return to work full-time. However, this has positives too – it means I can spend more time with my close friends and family on my non-work days.

Pancare have been an incredible support – they have been there every step of the way. I received a phone call from Pancare just days after my diagnosis and have been provided helpful information and advice on nutrition and treatments throughout my journey. Most of all though, they provided me with the opportunity to have potentially curative surgery through their networks.

I’m looking forward to participating in Pancare’s Walk for Hope to help raise awareness and funds for research to focus on early detection and treatments. We need to see improvements for patients and the survival rate improve. It’s encouraging seeing the significant achievements that breast and prostate cancers have been able to achieve over the decades. It’s my hope is that this will happen for pancreatic cancer too.”

Debbie Moors

For Debbie Moors, living with pancreatic cancer means accepting a “new me” – enjoying life, staying focused on the things she can do and raising awareness for the disease.

“I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2016 after several weeks of feeling not quite right in my gastrointestinal tract. Not wanting to be unwell for Christmas, I had it checked out. As a GP for over 40 years, I knew there was cause for alarm when my liver function blood tests returned high, but hoped it was something less serious. Subsequent tests revealed pancreatic cancer was the probable cause.

I was fortunate to have a great surgical and oncology team on my side. My treatment included a Whipple operation followed by six months of chemotherapy. While difficult for me to accept, I had to take time off work as a GP during chemotherapy which has progressed me into an early retirement.

I haven’t returned to work as a GP due to side effects from chemotherapy. Living with these side effects means accepting a new me. I have been enjoying life doing the things I can do rather than fretting over the changes to my life, or what I can’t do. I’m fortunate to have a close, loving family – my husband, daughters, sons-in-law and four gorgeous grandchildren. I’ve even found relaxation and fun in a new hobby pastel painting.

I’m thankful to be a survivor of pancreatic cancer and proud to participate in Pancare’s Walk for Hope to help raise awareness and funds to channel into patient support services and research. Last year’s event was moving to see so many people united as one, walking in honour of loved ones and we can’t wait to participate again this year.

We need more quality research to help find more effective treatments. I know I’ve been one of the lucky ones – my greatest wish is for improved outcomes for everyone affected.