Jason Mountfort was the heart of his family until he lost his short battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 48, just eight months after being diagnosed. His wife Mandy, shares their story.

Jason was the heart of our family. Quick witted, kind-hearted and protective, he was a loved husband, adored father, step-father and loyal friend. He was the ever-present help in time of need for so many, always putting others before himself.

After embarking on the trip of a lifetime to the UK in September last year, Jason was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pain. Looking back now, he’d also been suffering from frequent heartburn and a backache in the months prior to his diagnosis, but we put them down to feeling a bit sore from always being so active. Despite initial investigations showing no true cause, we knew something wasn’t right and demanded a CT scan which showed a tumour on his pancreas.

We quickly returned home to Australia for Jason to commence treatment but were confronted with the challenge to navigate a medical system that treated Jason with pity and provided little hope in the fight against this horrible disease. The experience had a profoundly negative impact on Jason and the rest of our family and we had to learn to stay positive in the face of adversity.

Despite Jason receiving a terminal diagnosis, we were determined to enjoy whatever time we had left with our kids and create a positive environment for Jason as he underwent treatment. We maintained a positive mindset and requested that anyone interacting with Jason also adopted an uplifting and positive attitude. Some ways we were able to put this into practice was to put a notice on the door for guests or a note in his medical records when in hospital. It certainly helped others maintain the positivity when they were in Jason’s presence and greatly assisted Jason keep his positive mindset whilst receiving treatment.

Sadly, Jason passed away at home in May this year with his beloved family by his side. He was just 48.

After our experiences with Jason, we’re determined to make sure no one walks alone. At times we felt confused, frustrated and isolated as we sought information specific to pancreatic cancer. Most of the time, I was left to find information on my own. Thankfully, organisations like Pancare Foundation, helped us navigate this difficult time but there needs to be more funding to make better progress.

While there needs to be a breakthrough in diagnosing and treating pancreatic cancer, we also want to see improvements in the information available to families as they navigate living with the disease. We are also passionate about advocating for a strong patient-centered voice that is empowering and uplifting for the patients and the families that support them.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for support – you are in control of your journey. Whilst the statistics may be poor, there is always hope and that’s the positive message we need to hear more of.

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