In April 2014, Grace’s father and younger brother were both in hospital at the same time. Her father had his second stroke within two weeks and her brother had pancreatitis and was put in ICU on life support. Grace took on working full time, trying to be a wife, mother, daughter and sister. Throughout this time, Grace lost 10-15 kilograms and felt extremely fatigued, tired and had gastro-like symptoms.
Having all of this, she attributed it to her stress levels, never once thinking anything was actually wrong.
“Well I was wrong in feeling this, because these are the symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer. This is why this cancer is so devious, unforgiving and aggressive because it gives patients a short life span and no real sign that there is something wrong.”
On the 2nd of September 2014, Grace was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is considered a ‘silent’ or as Grace likes to call it, a ‘sneaky’ cancer, as it is difficult to detect in its early stages.
There is a general lack of awareness of this cancer, with very little public information for patients and relatives regarding expected outcomes and treatment options.
Grace’s aim is to increase awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer research, “I’m trying to bring this awareness so that pancreatic cancer can be brought to a head, so we can be taken out of that ‘too hard basket’ that nothing can be done. Something can be done and it’s all about research”.
Research is needed to so that we are able to detect it earlier and make sure there are screening tests available for this disease.
“Don’t feel as though you’re going to be asking silly questions, if you want tests run, have them run” says Grace.
Grace is helping Pancare spread this awareness and she is determined to not let this disease take over her life, “it’s a challenge… but we support each other and my family’s strength builds on my strength”.
“I look forward to the future, I don’t dwell on this illness, I know that my family and friends are more important and I will not let this illness take over my life”.
Sadly Grace passed away in 2016.