Lisa Niemi Swayze, cancer activist and wife of late actor Patrick Swayze, stood on Capitol Hill Tuesday to reintroduce a bill aimed at making federal government research a priority for pancreatic cancer.
She describes the deadly illness as "woefully underfunded", but optimistically thinks "this will be easy to change."
Out of the five major cancers, the chances of beating pancreatic cancer are slim. In fact, she recalls her husband's first reaction to his diagnosis was one dreadful thought: "I am a dead man."
According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer has remained in the single digits for 40 years.
It's the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and 75% of patients die within the first year of diagnosis.
She spoke on behalf of every life that the disease has ever taken, pleading to legislators:
"It has been mentioned that a lot of these cancers have seen such incredible progress over the last 20 years or so have done so because they have survivors championing their causes. And a pancreatic cancer can't boast that kind of alumni … so it is up to us, friends, loved ones."
So sad, but so inspirational!
We applaud Lisa for speaking on behalf of those whose voices have been taken by pancreatic cancer, including Patrick, who fought the disease in its advanced stages for a stunning 22 months before passing.
Good luck, Lisa! We hope the bill passes and you continue to make a difference in those lives affected by this tragic cancer.
[Image via WENN.]
Tags: activist, actor, death, husband, illness, love, pancreatic, research, wife