Speaking out on ‘silent killer’

Victoria Poole and her Grandmother Isobel Turner
Victoria Poole and her Grandmother Isobel Turner

In honour of an ‘inspirational’ grandmother who she lost to pancreatic cancer in 2014, a Scarva girl has offered her professional skills to help raise awareness of the disease - a move that has taken her all the way to Stormont.

Last month Victoria Poole along with representatives from Pancreatic Cancer UK, met with MLAs at Stormont to highlight the charity’s plans to raise awareness of the disease over the course of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November.

Then on Monday (November 2) Victoria addressed health professionals, carers, sufferers of the disease and MLAs at an event at Stormont sponsored by Jo-Anne Dobson MLA. Here Victoria urged for urgent action to be taken to address the shocking statistics surrounding pancreatic cancer here in NI.

These events came about after Victoria, who graduated from Ulster University with a BSc Honours in Public Relations two years ago and now works as a consultant in Belfast, approached Pancreatic Cancer UK to offer them her PR skills.

Describing her grandmother as ‘a kind-hearted, Godly lady, filled with vibrant love, joy and compassion for others,’ Victoria said she knew absolutely nothing about the disease before her diagnosis.

“After seeing first-hand what an aggressive disease it is and learning more about the incredibly horrifying statistics surrounding survival rates, I decided to get involved and raise awareness here in NI,” she said.

“If I can help just one person by sharing my nanny’s story and help to save other families from the heartache of losing a loved one then it’s a story worth sharing and something I think my nanny would be proud of.

“I want to use my story to help make people here in Northern Ireland aware of this silent killer,” she added.

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all of the 21 most common cancers in the UK with only around four per cent of people diagnosed surviving five years or more.

A report published by Pancreatic Cancer UK found that over three quarters of people living in Northern Ireland are unable to name a symptom of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer UK provides local support in Northern Ireland and runs free patient information days and supporter days for people directly affected by the disease.