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


7 thoughts on “Got me thinking this week

  1. hey chel
    Melissa said it all!!!! there is never a wrong thing to do, you did what you thought was best at the time. which must have been a truly hard and dark time, thinking about who will get the money you raised would have been the last thing on your mind.
    and now getting your story out there and posting your life story, so real and honest, is getting the word out there and making people more aware of not only pancreatic cancer, or any deadly cancer but also to make us appreciated what we have, enjoy the time we spend with the people we love. your an inspiration to everyone in many ways. god bless xoxoxo

  2. Another good write Michela! It’s all good… the money you raised for the hospital DID make a difference and it was most helpful, I’m sure. Giving it to the Pancreatic Cancer Organization would have been great too. You did what you did. Don’t second guess it. Don’t doubt it.
    Melissa xxx

    1. Thank you Melissa, it’s funny how I never gave it a second thought til the other day, while I can’t regret my actions from then, I can only hope that one day pancreatic cancer might get the attention it deserves to receive proper funding and research, so more people don’t suffer the same fate Nick and Charlie did.
      Michela xxx

  3. So true, we need more funding for pancreatic cancer. In 40 years there has been no progress, the only thing they can do is use patients as test dummies, and nothing has worked so far, raising awareness is just as important , I also had no clue what pancreatic cancer was until Nick was diagnosed , wish we could have one day a year which we wear a ribbon to raise money and awareness,, my heart goes out to all suffering from this silent deadly cancer. To all who can help please do, these cancer patients deserve a chance, deserve hope and deserve for us to do whatever we can to speed up the process in research for a cure..40 years no progress is not acceptable…once again Michela you are an inspiration , a wonderful mother, a beautiful sister in law, and I love you with all my heart xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you Mary for your beautiful comment. Yes, I wish there was more awareness of pancreatic cancer and other deadly cancers that claim lives so quickly. I guess all we can do is hope for a future, when the focus will shift and we start looking at lesser known cancers to provide funding and research for. Let’ hope this blog goes a little way towards this.
      Love you lots, Michela xxxx

  4. Hi Micheala i have been following your blogs and think they are very real and honest. My husband was diagnosed with Bowel cancer in May this year. We are half way through chemotherapy at this stage. I was reading your blog about Pancreatic cancers and I realised that not only pancreatic cancer is a cancer that is not recognised but also a lot of other cancers. I didnt know that bowel cancer was Australia’s leading cancer. I always thought breast cancer was and i suppose thats because of all the recognition they do get, which is great and the awareness for women is fantastic but there is a lot cancer they sneak up and catch you by surprise. I always thought bowel cancer was more common in the elderly my husband is 44. The oncologist said the age is getting younger which astounded me and if i was to be asked to donate if my husband had passed i think i would of done exactly the same thing at the time. Hopefully one day all cancers get a lot more awareness. Your blog today has really made sense to me. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jody,
      Thank you for taking the time to write to me, im so sorry to hear that your husband is battling bowel cancer, that truly sucks, i wish him strength and send positive vibes your way during his chemotherapy. I absolutely agree with you, that there is not enough attention given to other cancers and all we seem to see are pink ribbons everywhere for breast cancer, which of course raising awareness is worthwhile, if other cancers got just a smidge of attention breast cancer received then there might be more funding shared around, to go towards more research and ultimately more cures or early detection. My husband was misdiagnosed for such a long time, if we’d known more about pancreatic cancer, than it may have been something we approached the doctors with. Here’s hoping that the awareness can shift to other deadly cancers one day in the near future. Thank you for reading along
      Michela xxx

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