“My mission is to inspire as many people as I can to be physically and mentally strong in their fight against this horrible disease.”
Having recently celebrated his eight-year survival anniversary in July, Louis Baldachino is living proof that even stage 4 pancreatic cancer isn't always a death sentence. His message of "Never Lose Hope" is one that he continues to champion, with his mission to inspire as many people as possible to remain strong in the face of this horrible disease. Louis first spoke to us when he took part in our Striding for Survival event in 2019 and today he shares an update.
“The absolutely most important update to my story is that I continue to have a normal life!
“I’m able to carry out my daily activities and enjoy family holidays! Some small day-to-day issues from the side effects of past treatments, such as peripheral neuropathy and digestion problems still endure, but the way I see it is that they are simply scars of the many battles I had to fight (and win) together with my family and friends. They certainly don’t stop or interfere with my daily life, my happiness, and my determination to enjoy life!
“My mission is to inspire as many people as I can to be physically and mentally strong in their fight against this horrible disease. As part of this, in June 2022, a sculpture was unveiled at the Primary Care Centre in Gibraltar.
“The sculpture, named ‘Never Lose Hope’, is my message to everyone to have faith, courage, strength and positivity when dealing with health issues. Sitting above the sculpture there is a plaque with my message: “Accept you are going to face difficult times. Believe you have the strength, courage, and the determination to fight. Always believe. Always be positive. Never Lose Hope”.
The sculpture was unveiled by the Minister of Health in Gibraltar. The introductory note in the unveiling programme leaflet read:
In July 2015, I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the following years of my life since my diagnosis has been a journey of many emotions. It is this journey that has led me to want to inspire others in whatever health issue they may have to fight.
“My journey led to people from all walks of life congratulating me for my courage, determination, and positive attitude. Some have even expressed that I helped them to fight their own health issues. This encouraged me to do more and to continue to inspire as many people as possible to have faith and courage, to stay determined and strong, to be positive at all times and to absolutely ‘Never Lose Hope’.
“To have faith, courage, strength, and positivity in health issues is of utmost importance.” My hope and goal is to be able to inspire people to do so by sharing my story with others and by the unveiling of this sculpture.
The Statement given by local sculptor Ermelinda Duarte, who created the sculpture, read:
This inspirational feature tribute, named ‘Never Lose Hope’, has been designed to inspire all sick people with positivity and strength in the journey.
After meeting with Louis Baldachino and hearing his story, there were seven words that stood out and were meaningful to me. First, acceptance, then he had to fight, be positive, and have faith and courage. His main goal is to inspire everyone and give hope which I intend to do so through this sculpture.
I have created a long, organic form to represent the person ‘The form’ has a spiral that opens gradually through the sculpture and decrease gradually until it closes. The spiral is a symbol that represents the journey plus changes in life as it unfolds. In the spiral, there are seven spheres (representing the illness, disease, and health).
“Also, through my charity work, I continue to raise awareness in the community, working closely with the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) and Public Health Gibraltar. This year we are working together to have the first public Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day to be done jointly by the GHA and Public Health Gibraltar.
“I just cannot wait to be able to celebrate my ten-year survivor landmark in July 2025, with my family, expanding family and friends!
“Don’t forget to inspire, be motivated, be strong, be positive and ‘Never Lose Hope’. Always believe”.
Only 7% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will live for more than 5 years.
Only 1% of people will live beyond 10 years.
This desperately needs to change.