Former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh, whose character passed away from pancreatic cancer in the hit TV series, has become a patron for pancreatic cancer campaign: Hope Is Contagious. The award-winning actress has committed to supporting the campaign which focusses on raising awareness of the UK’s fifth biggest cancer killer.
Hope is Contagious was set up in 2016 by Maggie Watts, a regional representative of national charity Pancreatic Cancer Action, to raise vital awareness for the disease which has the lowest survival rate of all 22 common cancers.
Maggie sadly lost her husband, Kevin, to pancreatic cancer in 2009, 40 years after his mother passed away from the same disease in 1969 aged just 27.
With the help of her friends and family, she has campaigned tirelessly for more funding and awareness for the disease. In 2014 she started an E-petition which reached over 100,000 signatures culminating in a debate on pancreatic cancer in parliament. Julie Hesmondhalgh was a big support with the campaign and joined Maggie in Westminster on the day.
Maggie says: “After Kevin’s death, we felt strongly that future pancreatic cancer patients needed to have hope and so the Hope Is Contagious Campaign was born.
We are extremely lucky to have the fabulous actress Julie Hesmondhalgh as a patron of the campaign and fortunate that she has been a supporter of our work since 2014 when we took a debate to parliament.
Julie is a fabulous person with a huge heart. She has many demands on her time but long after her Coronation Street storyline has ended she is still championing the cause which means such a lot to me and, I’m sure, the whole pancreatic cancer community.”
Ali Stunt, Founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action, said: “Maggie has worked so hard on this campaign and we are extremely proud to support her in her awareness and fundraising efforts.”
Pancreatic Cancer Action is committed to working towards earlier diagnosis of the disease so that surgery, currently the only cure, is made available to the sufferer. The charity fund research into early diagnosis, provide medical education programmes, and launch awareness campaigns.
To find out more about the charity, and Maggie’s campaign, visit: www.pancreaticcanceraction.org/hopeiscontagious