Dear Pancreatic Cancer Action Network supporters:
Scott with his sons Eric (left) and Nathan in the summer of 2009.
My pancreatic cancer journey began in August of 2008 when I felt lethargic during a family camping trip. The next week, I went to lunch with a coworker who told me I looked jaundiced. Sure enough, when I looked at the whites of my eyes in the mirror, they were yellow. On the evening of September 2, I visited my local walk-in health care clinic. A battery of tests confirmed I had a mass on my pancreas.
I have been fortunate to receive excellent care throughout my experience with this disease. Initially, I was thought to be a good candidate for the Whipple procedure. However, during surgery it was determined that my neuroendocrine tumor (same type Steve Jobs had) was not resectable. Instead, some of my “plumbing” was rearranged and I have been doing well ever since.
During my recovery, I spotted information about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at my oncologist’s office. I noticed a symposium was coming up along with the Puget Sound Affiliate’s “Celebration of Hope” gala. I registered for both and, boy, am I glad that I did!
The symposium was an uplifting day full of optimism. I heard a lot of good news about cutting-edge research, promising clinical trials and new drug therapies in development at the time. Best of all, I met a wonderful group of people. A bevy of volunteers, clinicians, researchers and survivors all became new friends and acquaintances that day. It was so encouraging seeing so many people gathered to focus on pancreatic cancer. The gala was a fantastic experience as well; we raised a lot of money for the cause that year. Shortly thereafter, I joined the Puget Sound Affiliate.
Since then, I’ve lost friends to the disease and continued to make new ones. As you know, the relative five-year survival rate has been 6% for decades and 74% of patients lose their battle less than a year from diagnosis. In my mind, those are not acceptable statistics.
As a four-year survivor, I know I am fortunate to be alive, and I am dedicated to doing everything within my power to move these numbers in a positive direction. I’ve had the pleasure of attending Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day in D.C. twice. And earlier this year I became our Affiliate Coordinator. Our affiliate is vibrant and fun. Whether it’s an educational event, our gala, PurpleStride, PurpleLight, a health fair or one of the many other community events we’re involved in, it seems there is always something going on.
Last week, you may remember getting an email from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network asking you to pledge to join the Vision of Progress and commit to this important challenge in the fight against pancreatic cancer. I hope you will sign up and take the pledge like I did.
In just a few short weeks, it will be November, which is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Now more than ever, we need as many people as possible to become involved in our cause so that we can continue the tremendous momentum that now surrounds this disease. Enlist your family and friends to support us!
On behalf of myself and my fellow survivors, thank you for your support. I am supremely confident that together, we can know, fight and end pancreatic cancer.
Affiliate Coordinator, Puget Sound Affiliate