The PanCan Gala is the vision of pancreatic cancer patient, Nyree Smith. Nyree was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2017. Despite having no symptoms, a full physical assessment showed her liver function was not 100%, and an MRI confirmed she had pancreatic cancer.
Three months of chemotherapy helped shrink the tumour enough to have surgery and after another three months of chemotherapy, Nyree was told she was cancer-free in 2018. Then in late 2019, the cancer came back. Nyree, now undergoes maintenance chemo to keep the cancer at bay for as long as possible.
In the face of her diagnosis, Nyree started a blog and website to help support others going through pancreatic cancer and her monthly coffee mornings are a source of vital support for ‘the forgotten’ pancreatic cancer community.
But she wasn’t done!
I am one of the few lucky ones to have had Pancreatic Cancer caught early enough to give me a fighting chance. Having lost friends to this disease, I often ask why me, there must be a reason. That is why I have started this mission to raise awareness and support research into this often forgotten cancer.
My family and I went through our first journey of pancreatic cancer when my Dad was diagnosed and passed in 2000. Like so many we didn’t know about the silent progression and symptoms of this cancer.
I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2020. I had a sore back, I exercised a lot, I was 56 trying to be my 35 year old self, not aware that the pain was cancer. My journey of surgery and chemotherapy, while tough, has enabled me to continue, appreciate and enjoy life with those I love.
I saw the Gut Foundation’s video some months ago and was inspired by Nyree and members of the committee’s ambition to raise awareness, create support groups and raise funds for clinical trials in an effort to diagnose and support better pancreatic cancer outcomes. I was delighted to be asked to join the committee and support the planning of the PanCan Gala and achieve the, so important, goals the Gala will provide.
I have been involved with Gut Cancer NZ more specifically Pancreatic Cancer since 2017 – shortly after Mum was diagnosed. I had never heard of pancreatic cancer and then started reading up about the poor statistics and lack of awareness. Super grateful that my company Emergent then came on board – most of them watched Mum and her determination to try and beat it. We needed something spectacular and the PanCan Gala 2021 was certainly shaping up to be that. Nyree our Chair of the committee is an inspiration heading this Gala committee when she herself has Pancreatic Cancer. We have some great companies supporting us some spectacular auction items and it would be my dream to achieve the status of the highest fundraising event for Pancreatic/Gut Cancer. So please if you can’t come but want to donate we would love that – sadly Mum didn’t win the battle but I know if she was here she would be giving this her all.
Nyree and I became friends while working together nearly 10 years ago. When she asked me to help her raise funds for pancreatic cancer, I couldn’t say no. She is a wonderfully kind person who is showing true inspiration of strength and determination fighting this horrible disease.
I lost my mother Pip Davidson after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer 9 years ago. Mum was an incredibly selfless, giving person, always working away quietly in the background doing things for other people and never seeking the limelight or looking for thanks. When I was given the opportunity to join the PanCan Committee it seemed the perfect way to thank Mum for all she did, and to acknowledge the astounding bravery and resilience of people like her and Nyree our Committee Chair – who despite their own battles strive to make a better path for others.
Liam is the Executive Officer of the Gut Cancer Foundation. He has spent his entire career associated with the Non-Profit sector, both in the UK and here in New Zealand. He has over 15 years experience working in a variety of fundraising roles, including time with the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
Steve is founder and CEO of NZ’s leading conference, expo and training business Conferenz. He has long supported important community and charitable initiatives including KidsCan, Graeme Dingle Foundation and a kiwi conservation project.