I returned to Stormont on Tuesday evening to attend an event in aid of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Two years ago I attended the same event with my friend Olive Buckley. On that occasion Olive spoke bravely about her diagnosis of Pancreatic cancer and reinforced her attitude to dealing with it, which showed her inner strength and determination. Sadly Olive passed away in September last year and until she passed away she remained upbeat and was still dealing with issues connected to Unite for whom she had been a strong advocate.
It was encouraging to see that although Stormont is no longer a working entity a number of MLAs showed their support by turning up.
Nichola Mallon opened proceedings with the sad news that a former teacher Mrs O’Sullivan had passed away on Tuesday due to pancreatic cancer.
Mark Taylor spoke about the advances in treatments some being pioneered by the University of Ulster and Professor John Callan. Very encouraging.
We also heard Ivan McMinn talk about how it has been six years since his diagnosis but because of an early diagnosis and thanks to the expert care from Mark Taylor, he is fit and well and looking forward to the future.
Mark Taylor also acknowledged the presence of Olive Buckley’s partner Gary and how Olive’s contribution on Talkback had helped raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. She also asked that Abraxane be made available in NI and this has now happened.
We miss Olive very much and hope that in the future the outcome for others will be more positive.
Thanks to Pancreatic Cancer UK for hosting the event
For more information and symptoms
Classic pancreatic cancer symptoms can include:
Painless jaundice (yellow skin/eyes, dark urine, itching).
Weight loss which is significant and unexplained.
Abdominal pain or discomfort which is new-onset and significant.