Friday, 31 January 2014

Why I Did the #CanCan4PanCan

Early in December - strangely, around what would have been my dad's birthday -  after responding to a direct message on Twitter, I had an email from Pancreatic Cancer UK. ‘How would you feel,’ I was asked, ‘about getting your CanCan on for pancreatic cancer awareness?’ Pretty silly, I guess, was my initial reaction, but pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of all UK cancer deaths and survival rates have not improved in forty years - and I had a personal reason to get involved.

Pancreatic cancer is known as the ‘silent’ killer because many of its symptoms reflect less serious illnesses meaning that by the time diagnosis is confirmed it’s often too late – which is what happened to my dad. Dad was troubled by the kind of vague back pain and general malaise most people dismiss as a virus and Dad – who once performed an eye-watering operation on himself with a Stanley knife - certainly wouldn’t have consulted a doctor about a ‘bug’.


The day came, however, when Dad was faced with symptoms he couldn’t ignore; jaundice so severe that even the whites of his eyes were yellow, itching, stomach problems and so on. Soon we knew the worst. And by this stage, despite the very best efforts of the consultants and surgeons at the Royal Marsden, the disease was too far advanced to save him.

One of Dad’s most endearing qualities was that he smiled readily and could see the humour in the bleakest situation. This, and his amazing capacity to endure physical pain, were characteristics which bore him through his final illness. He never complained or felt sorry for himself. In sickness and in health he was genuinely amazed and grateful for any kindness and help given to him. And we miss him every day.



So, I decided, if a few minutes squirming with embarrassment doing the cancan on the beach – to the amazement of several dogwalkers – could help at all in Pancreatic Cancer UK’s campaign to raise awareness of this disease and improve survival rates, I’d willingly take part. All the cancan clips were stitched together to make one brilliant campaign video. To view it and also find out more about how you can keep the conversation about pancreatic cancer going, please click #CanCan4PanCan

You can spot me, if you don't blink, at about 41 seconds!  (And this is what I had to do first on a public beach!)

video




20 comments:

Claire McC said...

Well done, Chris. By offering up a few moments embarrassment you a)helped raise awareness, b)did something fun in memory of your wonderful sounding dad and c)gave a few beach walkers something to talk about for the rest of the day. You are an inspiration.xx

Margaret James said...

Fantastic, Chris - you're a total star and your father would be proud of you.

Margaret James said...

Fantastic, Chris - you're a total star and your father would be proud of you.

Margaret Kaine said...

A very moving account Chris. We lost a dear member of our writing group to pancreatic cancer last year, and all knew with the diagnosis that there was little hope for him.

I admire you for doing the can-can,maybe a new career awaits you in Chorus Line.

Terribly sorry about your Dad. I'll R/T and whatever, wherever I can. xx

Mandy K James said...

Brought tears to my eyes. A lot of folk would do well to take a huge leaf out of your dad's book xxx

Chris Stovell said...

Aw, Claire, thank you - you are very kind. (I was so nervous walking down that beach building up to it!!)

Thank you, Margaret - I think he would have had a good laugh at it!

Margaret (K)- it's awful that the diagnosis comes too late for so many people. Let's hope this campaign helps to improve those survival rate. A Chorus Line - Dad always said I sounded like a baby elephant going up and down stairs! And thank you xx

He was one of a kind to me, Mandy, but I'm probably biased. ;) xx

Jane Lovering said...

Your dad sounds like a man who made the most of life! Well done for overcoming the embarrassment - we'll have to start calling you 'She Who Dances In Front of Dogs'. Such a good cause.

Sue Moorcroft said...

Brilliant, Chris. xxx

Chris Stovell said...

She who clumps around in front of a few interested dogs and nervous dog-owners is probably more accurate but not so catchy, Jane! And thank you - that bit about Dad making the most of life was certainly true.x

Thank you, Sue and for sharing. x

Kathryn Freeman said...

So moving Chris - Dad's are really special, aren't they? Good on you for supporting this, I'm sure he'd be really proud of you (after he'd had a good giggle at your can can!!) xx

Pondside said...

Chris - you're great! For such a silly, up-beat video I was shocked to find myself a bit weepy. There you were, putting your shyness aside and kicking up your heels to drum up support. From what you wrote about your dad, I think he would have loved this. Good for you, my friend!!!

Chris Stovell said...

I really miss him, Kate - but we all do and, yes, you're right. Thank you Cx

Aw, Pondside - thank you m'dear. It took a bit of doing! (Sorry not to have been round lately - it's been an utterly manic start to the year!)

Lins' lleisio said...

Well done you :) Brilliant can can too. Your Dad would be extra proud.

Chris Stovell said...

Thanks, Lins - I bet Topsy would have pretended not to know me!

Frances said...

Well Chris, it's clear that you certainly can can-can!

I was very struck by how much you do look like your Dad, and was so moved by learning more about him.

xo

Chanpreet said...

Chris your father was a strong man. It stinks that much advancement has been made since his diagnosis in detection and treatment. I lost a grandfather to pancreatic disease and I only have a single memory of him. He passed 23 years ago.

I don't think you look silly at all. Somethings are above human dignity and if this helps shed light on the problem I'm all for it. You did a wonderful job. I love your tutu by the way, very elegant and a nice touch. :)

mountainear said...

Well done Chris. What's a little embarrassment anyway if it helps raise awareness and much needed funds?

Cara Cooper said...

Your dad sounds like a wonderful man and that was a moving account. The video though, that's so funny!! Reminded me of those turn of the century movies at the dawning of moving picture where people did strange little dances in curious clothes. Brilliant, thanks for brightening my day!!!

Flowerpot said...

Well done Chris - you're brilliant! x

Chris Stovell said...

Gosh, I'm very sorry - I don't seem to have replied to some of you.

Thank you, Frances - I'm touched. x

Chanpreet, sorry to hear about your grandfather and how little time you had with him. It would be marvellous if pancreatic disease could be detected at an earlier stage. Hopefully medical advances will increase survival rates. I felt silly in that 'tutu' - a net petticoat, but it got me in the mood!

Thank you, Cara - I think what's so strange in my clip (apart from me) is that there's no sound - I had to dance to a soundtrack in my head! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Thank you, Sue!