THE wife of a Fermanagh man who passed away as a result of pancreatic cancer has been continuing to fight to ensure other families don’t to have to suffer the same pain she and her children have experienced.
Kerry Irvine is the driving force behind Pancreatic Cancer Action: Action4Noel, which she set up following the death of her husband Noel, who was from Kesh but lived with Kerry and their two girls in Omagh. Kerry is determined to raise as much awareness of this under-researched and often deadly disease as possible, where early detection vital for survival, in memory of her brave husband who passed away in November 2011.
Over the past number of years Kerry has been working tirelessly organising events, particularly every November, which is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. This November she has been hosting awareness stalls at each of the four hospitals in the Western Trust area.
Beginning at the Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex on November 1, the Action4Noel stall was at the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) last Friday, November 10.
“Noel was from Fermanagh originally so there were some people that came and told me they had known him. One of the porters actually worked with Noel from days gone by,” said Kerry, who said she’d met people “from right across the spectrum of knowledge” of pancreatic cancer during the event.
“There was a young lady, her daddy is in the survival camp as he was diagnosed early. It’s so encouraging and uplifting to hear of others being diagnosed earlier,” she said.
“Whilst hearing the stories similar to my own family was incredibly difficult, knowing that there are so many more people that know about pancreatic cancer and the signs and symptoms drives me to continue.”
Kerry will be at Altnagelvin on November 20, and will be finishing at the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital in Omagh on November 24.
Action4Noel also held a coffee morning yesterday, Tuesday, November 14, at the Mater Hospital in Belfast in conjunction with the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, and held an awareness event at Stormont last night.
Yesterday Kerry travelled to London to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on pancreatic cancer, for the launch of a report on its inquiry into early diagnosis of the disease.
Finally, Enniskillen Castle and the Irvine family’s parish church in Lislmnaghan will light up purple tonight for World Pancreatic Cancer Day.
Easy to mistake so know the signs!
PANCREATIC cancer is often misdiagnosed as a less serious digestive complaint, and with a disease that is so important to catch early, it’s crucial to know the warning signs.
The main symptoms to look out for are painless jaundice, including yellow skin or eyes, dark urine and itching; weight loss which is significant and unexplained, and new-onset abdominal pain or discomfort with is significant.
Back pain, new onset diabetes without weight gain, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, paint when eating, and digestive problems are all also signs to look out for.