Festive cheer at Hastings Black Market VIP in aid of Pancreatic Cancer Action

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Karis Father - Nigel Thompson
Karis Father – Nigel Thompson

Keen musician, Karis Thompson, from Hastings, will be hosting a Christmas concert on the 22nd December at the BLK Market for a cause very close to her heart. All proceeds from the concert will go to Pancreatic Cancer Action and will be dedicated to loved ones who have died from the disease.

Karis is encouraging people to come along to enjoy a wonderful festive evening of dance and musical performances, including Liane Carroll, Abigaile Doherty, West-end’s Darcy Jacobs, Pulse Circus and Movement and Karis herself.

The Concert will be held in loving memory of Nigel Thompson, Karis’ Dad and Clare Wilson, Liane Carroll’s mum, who both passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Karis’ Father, Nigel, was given 9 months to live after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014 but sadly died just 2 short months later. Nigel was experiencing weight loss, abdominal pains, frequent trips to the toilet and jaundice which led to tests and his diagnosis that was just too late.

Nigel, Karis and her Mum
Nigel, Karis and her Mum

Karis says: “My dad was my rock and an incredible support to me! He came to every gig that I performed at and was always there in the crowd! He was such a strong man, loved by so many and it broke my heart to see his health go downhill so quickly, especially as he had beaten his past illnesses. I just want to raise awareness of this disease and the symptoms as there is a better chance of survival with an early diagnosis!”

“I am so grateful for all the support everyone has shown and thank you to everyone that has given up their time to make the evening possible”

Clare Wilson’s granddaughter Abigaile speaks fondly of her grandmother: “My nan was my world, I feel utterly privileged to have had her in my life for almost 31 years, I see her every day in my children Madelyn and Ella to whom she played a huge part in raising and for that I will be eternally grateful.”

Clare always enjoyed an active social life but in late June this year she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After not feeling ‘herself’ Clare went to the doctors, had numerous blood tests but was often dismissed by the GP and told it was just because ‘she was getting older’. As time went on, Clare felt weaker and more tired and it wasn’t until a blood test showed abnormalities with her ovaries and kidneys, which led to her being taken for a CT scan of her abdomen.

Claire Wilson
Claire Wilson

The scan showed that there was a large tumour on her pancreas which was completely inoperable due to it being on an artery with chemotherapy also ruled out. Her family had just 11 days with Clare as she sadly passed away on July 8th 2016.

Abigaile continues: “It all went so quickly but we are forever thankful for the amazing care she received at St Michaels Hospice in the last couple of days which meant that she was finally pain and sickness free and able to rest peacefully with us, her family by her side right until the end.”

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth biggest cancer killer in the UK and has the lowest survival rate of all common cancer at just 5%, a figure which has barely changed in almost 50 years. Across the UK nearly 10,000 people a year will be diagnosed with the disease and with the survival rate so shockingly low almost 9,000 of those diagnosed will not survive.

Pancreatic Cancer Action focuses on driving earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer through increased awareness of the signs and symptoms amongst the public and primary care community.

Ali Stunt, Founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action, said: “We are delighted that Karis, Abilgale and others have given their time to support Pancreatic Cancer Action and organise this great event. Thanks to everyone involved!

“As a charity, we rely on the generosity these individuals to help us continue our vital work.  Please support them by attending the event if you can.”