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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days of Awareness: November is Worldwide Pancreatic Awareness Month

By Tina Case

November is National Pancreatic Cancer Month.  Make a Difference. Today.

Throughout a typical day we often go about our lives on autopilot.  Whether we are parents who work from the office, or are single and work from home, our life becomes a set of routines.  We get up, go to work, go grocery shopping, act as chauffer, help with homework and get dinner on the table.  Once everyone is cleaned up and ready for bed, the routine starts all over again.

This past summer my family learned that my oldest brother has pancreatic cancer.  Pancreatic cancer is one of the most devastating cancers anyone can get.  Often by the time it is detected it has already spread to other organs and has started ravaging the body with tumors.

My brother is a world renowned doctor who has helped people his whole life.  His life is a masterpiece in helping others and he is one of the kindest and gentlest doctors there is.  I have received so many wonderful messages and accolades from his patients and colleagues with the most amazing heartfelt stories and tributes.
One Day my brother is a doctor, the next day he’s a patient.  

My brother holding hands with my youngest daughter.
One Day, when something like this happens to you, whether it is a heart attack, a stroke, cancer or a car accident, you will never, ever be the same.  Your mind, your emotions – your soul, is shaken and you realize that how you lived your life before will never be quite the same.  You will still have routines and you will still go about your day on autopilot.  But you will have a different outlook with a new sense of purpose.  You will see and feel things through different eyes.  Continued

One Day something in me changed.  It was the day my family was affected by cancer.  One Day while typing away I realized I could do something with my writing.  My writing had a new sense of purpose.

This year a portion of my freelance writing earnings will go towards pancreatic research.  It is time this devastating cancer is wiped from the face of the earth.  One Day I hope to look back and see that I have made a small difference.  One Day I hope to raise awareness and help raise money that goes toward developing a cure for pancreatic cancer.  So that others will never have to walk this heartbreaking and gut wrenching plank again.

We can all make a difference if we took just
 One Day to reflect on all that we have.  And make a difference with something we do, today.  We are all in this together.  Join me, One Day, and work with a purpose that is close to your heart.  So that we can all look forward to the years ahead.

Grievously that One Day will never happen for my brother.  By the time his cancer was detected it was already stage IV.  Pancreatic cancer is one of the least curable of cancers.  It is often called the silent cancer because there are rarely any outward symptoms until it has spread.  Roughly 95 percent of pancreatic cancers are classified as adenocarcinoma tumors, with a five-year survival of only 6%.  Steve Jobs had an even rarer form of pancreatic cancer called pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, which produces islet cell or neuroendocrine tumors. That form is less aggressive and he survived 6 years after his original diagnosis.  Through my brother’s difficult journey over the past four months I have learned a greater deal about the disease and its nearly always fatal outcome.  Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and continues to be the least funded among the top five.  Join me in recognizing November as Worldwide Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.    To find an event in your area click here.

Remember.  One Day is all it takes to make a difference.  One Day.

Supervisor George Shirakawa District 2, Supervisor Liz Kniss District 5, Tina Case (pancan.org volunteer), Diane Borrison (5 year pancreatic cancer survivor and pancan volunteer), Supervisor Mike Wasserman District 1, Supervisor Ken Yeager District 4, Supervisor Dave Cortese District 3

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