Category Archives: pancreatic cancer

Got me thinking this week

Hi again, sorry for the lack of creativity in my title today, but honestly, it’s just something that ‘got me thinking this week’ and also apologies for the lack of posts lately, just been winding it down a little.

Back to this week’s post, I happened to chance upon a segment on the morning Today show last week, at a time when we’re normally watching Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, (honestly one of the cuter kids shows on ABC2, you gotta love Nanny Plum!), it was a piece on Peter Harvey and the legacy he has left behind following his death.

For those who don’t know, Peter Harvey was a well respected Australian journalist of over 35 years, who quickly lost his battle to pancreatic cancer in March last year.

I watched as his daughter and a doctor from the Pancreatic Cancer Research Group, spoke about the disease that also claimed Nick’s life, and for those who didn’t know, Patrick Swayze’s too.

I admit before Nick was diagnosed, I didn’t even know what a pancreas was, or why we needed it, though google quickly filled us in.

The current stats for Australia are below:

In 2014, it’s estimated 2,890 Australians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality of all major cancers with less than 5% of patients reaching the 5 year survival mark

Two thirds of pancreatic patients die within the first year of diagnosis, like Nick did!

Survival rates for pancreatic cancer have not changed in nearly 40 years, that’s crazy!!

Not exactly positive stuff!

Compared to other cancers, it receives the least amount of fundraising for research. They say it’s partly because the patients die before they can become advocates for the illness, unlike other cancers that have higher survival rates and celebrity backing.

It kinda sucks!

And to the point of my entry today, I feel like I have contributed to this problem!

What? I hear you say…I mean,  i’m no celebrity who could have helped raise millions for the cause, no Dad, me writing a blog does not make me famous!

But, when Nick died, instead of asking for donations to assist in pancreatic cancer research, like I now wish I had done, in lieu of flowers, I asked for donations to be made to Epworth Hospital where he’d received his care.

Now back then, we had spent so much time at the hospital, I was practically one of the staff, ok maybe just a volunteer, I had no official title, badge or anything really…

I made friendships, that almost 4 years on, I still have. It was like a second family, who knew us so well.

At the time of Nick’s death, it was suggested by someone from the hospital that they could supply donation envelopes for the funeral service, that would assist them with their fundraising.

Of course, I jumped on the idea of wanting to help my ‘family’ post Nick’s death, as a thank you for all their support.

Following the funeral, I was asked to come and speak to a representative of the hospital who dealt with the donations, to discuss where I wanted the money spent.

They had received approx $3,000, which I was impressed by, could you imagine a floral bouquet worth that much!!! I must add Toyota did provide a very sizeable chunk of that, such was their generosity!!

And i’ll also add, i’m completely positive, that people took envelopes with no intention of providing donations, but such is human nature, right?

I was given a running sheet by the hospital, as the donations flowed in, with names and amounts and another with a list of hospital items and their worth, ranging from a park bench to actual equipment.

All I knew, was that I wanted the cancer ward to receive the donation, hello 4EW! and we settled on an IV drip machine thing, that administers the chemo to the patient, the bane of our existence for those 7 months, but I mastered it in the end, I had to, that beeping drove me crazy!!

Told you I was practically staff there, I mean they never called security on me when they found me raiding their supply cupboard.

In another meeting to discuss the donation, I was told the piece of equipment purchased would have Nick’s name etched on it, so I thought that was a nice gesture and as a bonus, my daughter received an Epworth cowboy teddy for our efforts. Yay, another stuffed toy for her collection!

Months later in the mail, I received an invitation to the unveiling of some new donation plarks, Nick’s name was going on their donation wall in the foyer.

But, I couldn’t go, I was over the hospital by then, and was in my ‘i’m never travelling to Richmond or the Epworth ever again’ phase.

I felt i’d given enough of myself to them, I was spent!

I hadn’t thought about all this for such a long time, until I saw the segment on Today. Why didn’t I collect money for pancreatic cancer research instead ??

By all accounts, Epworth Hospital must be doing ok, they are a private hospital and c’mon, the other week Kanye West shut down the entire emergency department and adjoining rooms for a few hours just to see a doctor, i’m sure he would have left a sack of money for their troubles on his way out!

Hearing that pancreatic cancer receives the least amount of funding, makes me sad that I could have helped in some little way. I have though, personally donated to the cause but nowhere near the amount we ‘gifted’ the Epworth after Nick’s death.

While I don’t regret what happened then, I was still in a bit of a fog, I went with what felt right at the time, something with hindsight I might have done differently.

No obligation, but I thought i’d best add the link to donate here if you have been touched by our story and want to assist or if you just want to read more about pancreatic cancer, their website is super informative.

Got me thinking this week
Nick having chemo with his favourite girl

So that’s what got me thinking this week, hope you stayed with me til the end, this was a bit of a ramble!

Thank you too, for your continued love and support of me and this blog, even when I haven’t been writing weekly, I have still received beautiful, inspiring emails from you! They truly make my day.

Thank you also for sharing around my blog and having it find its way to other widows and people grieving, they always write to tell me how encouraging they find my posts. That truly warms my heart!

Til next time, Michela x