November 9th 2018
Today’s articles follow a bit of a theme, that of collective action towards making life better for others and especially those who’ve had experience of cancer. Whether it’s through fundraising, raising awareness or taking part in a study, there’s so many ways you can join in with others to make a difference. I hope the following items bring you inspiration as well as information!
Finding a path to research funding for less than $1 a day
Last night CanDo was honoured to be invited to a tour of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Kinghorn Cancer Centre, and to learn more about the Pathfinders Group. Pathfinders use collective giving as a way to create a fund that is used to support researchers at the very early stages of generating support for their ideas. Donors can contribute as little as $25 per month which goes into creating a pool of money that is awarded to a researcher with new and novel approaches to finding cures for diseases like cancer. The 2017 award went to Katherine Giles and Qian Du who work in the Epigenetics division at Garvan. Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in our genome (the complete set of all our genes) that occur without altering the DNA or genetic code (…and yes I had to look that up!). Their complex and painstaking work with cancer cells shows early promise at one day leading to new treatments for patients who may not otherwise be responsive to existing chemotherapies
Now this sort of innovative research isn’t easy to explain to non-science types and the benefits may be years off, but new approaches have to start somewhere. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a donor to research for as little as $1 per day, find out more at the Pathfinder’s website, here.
Here’s a short video about how their giving program works. What a beautifully simple and effective way to support research!
Thursday November 15th is World Pancreatic Cancer Day
The pancreas sits behind the liver and is part of the digestive system. It produces insulin and other enzymes and hormones that help break down foods. Sadly, pancreatic cancer remains one of the most difficult cancers to treat and to survive, with most cases diagnosed at an advanced stage.
November 15th is a chance to wear your favourite purple frock or shirt, and help provide awareness that more funding is needed to #DemandBetter and drive better methods of early detection and more positive outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer. Last year, the iconic Sydney Opera House was lit up in gorgeous purple hues, symbolic of how big and important this issue is, and the efforts being made to address it.
Get your Mo growing!
November is also of course, the month for Movember. Having started off in 2004, these days Movember is more than a fundraising campaign, it’s something of a cultural phenomenon! With funds raised going to help men’s health initiatives (specifically cancer and mental health), Movember encourages the men in our lives to support each other and importantly, remove the stigma of discussing and acting upon health concerns. Early detection and early interventions are life savers.
We’re already a week into the month, and look if you haven’t got that mo going yet, a Merv-style handlebar might be out of the question by the end of the month (damn!) but you can still get a very nice little shrubbery sitting atop your lip. And sistas, you can join in too (while a mo may be out of your reach there’s definitely opportunities to support your bros).
Are you a survivor who worries about your cancer returning?
It’s a common experience. You get through treatment and then every weird lump or pain becomes a source of stress and anxiety. “Scanxiety” is a word all survivors become familiar with. It can take a long time to relax back into the “new normal” after cancer and of course some of us never do.
Dr Ben Smith, a friend of CanDo and all round good guy based at the Ingham Institute in Liverpool, is spearheading a team of psycho-oncology researchers that want to know more about what tools can help survivors overcome fear of recurrence. The team are keen to hear your thoughts or get your reaction to using a web-based self-help tool.
Its called the iConquerFear Study and you can learn more and get in touch with Dr Smith here . There’s only a few weeks left of the study so don’t delay in making your thoughts matter, and help other survivors in the process.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading this week’s News Review!
The CanDo app is supported by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
When the question is “What can I do?”, CanDo helps turn empathy into action.
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