The pancreatic cancer debate: 8th September 2014

Maggie Watts and Julie Hesmondhlagh who is the patron of the hope is contagious campaing
Maggie Watts and Julie Hesmondhlagh

Along with Maggie Watts and countless supporters who pushed a petition to provide more funding awareness of pancreatic cancer, we successfully secured a debate in Westminster on 8th September 2014.

Everyone who has been involved in the process should be proud of what we achieved through this petition. Supporters wrote to their MPs asking them to attend the debate and many attended to share their constituents stories.

How did the campaign start?

Maggie Watts lost her husband, Kevin, to pancreatic cancer in 2009. Kevin’s mum also passed away from pancreatic cancer 40 years before. In that 40 years pancreatic cancer survival rates had barely improved. This drove Maggie to start a petition demanding change.

The petition had support from the general public as well as MPs like Nic Dakin and celebrities such as Julie Hesmondhalgh.

The debate

Click on the image to watch the debate

The debate lasted two and a half hours, 28 MPs attended and 11 speeches were made. MPs called upon the Health Minster to make much needed changes to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates.

The Minster agree to have a meeting with Nic Dakin MP and Eric Ollerenshaw OBE with the Chief Medical Officer to discuss the levels of funding in pancreatic cancer research.

Thanks to the debate more parliamentary support was secured and a huge amount of awareness was raised.


Hope is Contagious

The debate was just the start for Maggie and encouraged her to raise further awareness of pancreatic cancer. In 2017 Maggie set up the Hope is Contagious Campaign aims to raise the profile of pancreatic cancer with a clear focus on symptom awareness as early diagnosis is the key to survival.

Click here to read more about the campaign.