Bereaved Story

“I was shocked to find out that it’s extremely overlooked”

Jog Jan for Pan Can participant, Helen, reflects on why she's aiming to run beaten her 155km target this month and run 182km and counting!

Helen McLellan

My first exposure to pancreatic cancer came upon learning that my cousin and friend had been diagnosed, coincidentally, both at the same time and both named Daniel. My immediate response was to do whatever I could to help.

In spite of my naive assumption that others knew about this cancer, I was shocked to find out that it’s extremely overlooked. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate of the 22 most common cancers, mainly because it’s diagnosed late.

When my cousin was tragically diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the heartbreak that followed was incredibly sobering, leading me to research ways to raise awareness in order to educate more people about the importance of early diagnosis. My friend, Steve Christie, who is also supporting Jog Jan for Pan Can, introduced me to Pancreatic Cancer Action. Their top priority is raising awareness, so partnering with them made sense.

There is small discrimination when it comes to cancer, and tomorrow cannot be predicted. My hope is that I have made a small contribution towards improving the statistics surrounding this type of cancer by sharing the information with my family, friends and co-workers.

The loss of Daniel has devastated our family. Those who knew him were richer for having known him; he was a perfect son and friend. People should not have to suffer from diseases like this, so I urge more people to contribute to changing the status quo.

I live in Scotland, and the weather hasn’t really cooperated, but when I think of what Daniels and others endured, it’s easy to stay focused. My motivation to run comes from thinking about Daniel and how my actions might impact someone else’s family. If you’re thinking of getting involved, I recommend staying loyal to the end goal and doing it authentically. I have no doubt that you will be able to make a positive impact if you do.

Helen will be continuing to jog throughout January for our Jog Jan for Pan Can event. As part of this, she has shared her top tip for running: “Running or walking, stretch daily, and listen to your body.” You can donate to Helen’s fundraising page here.