25 November 2016
“I’m off to yoga now Lucy” my grandmother would say every Tuesday night. A respectable lady of 61 years, she hardly drank, except for a tipple of sherry at Christmas, had never been a smoker and ate relatively healthy.
However, she had started to feel unwell and was complaining of tummy pains. From someone who very rarely visited the GP she suddenly was making an appointment every month. We, as a family did think this seemed a little odd, but, as she didn’t seem too concerned neither did we think to worry.
A shadow of herself
One day she announced that she was feeling particularly unwell and took herself off to the emergency morning clinic. I had a phone call from my mother saying that the GP had sent her to get a scan at the hospital, followed by a later phone call from my mother who said that I should “prepare myself”- my grandmother might not be coming home. This was just over a year after her first visit to her GP.
I remember entering the ward and seeing her in bed. She was, by then, in a lots of pain. I had never heard of pancreatic cancer, I had no idea what the symptoms were and I had no idea that the next few weeks would be my grandmother’s last. Days were spent in and out of hospital as the family watched our dear grandmother start to become a shadow of herself; not eating, not talking and not moving. The hardest thing to watch.
A taboo subject
Her illness was never really discussed and we slowly had to get on with our lives. Twelve years later, after relocating with my family, I joined a local charity, Pancreatic Cancer Action. A charity focused on raising awareness of pancreatic cancer, educating the public and medical professionals and funding research.
As the Fundraising Manager I can see first-hand what a difference the donations we receive from our supporters can really make but currently, our gifts left in Wills only make up a very small amount of our annual income.
The subject of writing a Will is sometimes hard to approach, not only with supporters but with members of staff, however it is such an important part of all our lives. For the charity it is a part of the fundraising stream that we should be and will be talking about more openly in future campaigns.
I speak to a great many of our supporters who, unfortunately have had to go through similar experiences as my family did. Late diagnosis, lack of awareness of the symptoms with both the medical professionals and members of the public, can all lead to families losing a loved one unnecessarily. I don’t want this to happen anymore.
So, as a member of staff at the charity and as someone bereaved from this disease, I have left a gift in my Will to Pancreatic Cancer Action. I know that I am helping make a difference to future patients, by giving them the knowledge and the medical assistance they need to hopefully have their diagnosis caught at a time when surgery is possible, currently the only cure.
Any gift left in a Will is greatly received by Pancreatic Cancer Action, no matter how small or large the difference it can bring will be life changing. Find our more here.
Why should you consider leaving a gift in your Will?
Lucy de’Lemos, fundraising manager at Pancreatic Cancer Action