When was the last time you were outside your comfort zone? Today, the final day of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, I found myself at Queen’s University Belfast Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research in my role as Trustee of NIPANC. It was two days filled with learning, growth, and a renewed sense of purpose.
As I stood in the Great Hall on World Pancreatic Cancer Day, I couldn’t help but reflect on the journey that led me here. Six years ago, I couldn’t have told you where the pancreas is in the body or what its purpose is. Yet, today, I am connected with people across the globe because of this devastating disease.
These two days were an amalgamation of stepping outside my comfort zone and embracing the learning and growth zones, as illustrated below⬇️. I wasn’t in the fear zone, as I wasn’t speaking, but I was surrounded by discussions on the NI Biobank, nanotechnologies, DNA methylation, protein markers, and IRE1 inhibitors—topics that were once unfamiliar territory for someone with an arts background who gave up biology after just one year.
Despite not being an expert in these scientific realms, my passion lies in improving outcomes for individuals battling pancreatic cancer. It’s part of my life’s purpose to do more for those impacted by this devastating illness. I left the center hopeful, realizing that there is a brighter future ahead.
One of the highlights of the event was being entrusted with the compering duties, thanks to Susan McLaughlin and the Board. It was an honor to contribute to such a significant event dedicated to raising awareness about pancreatic cancer.
This event was not just about me stepping outside my comfort zone; it was about meeting incredible individuals who share a deep commitment to raising awareness and funds. These resources enable us to conduct more research, support more families, and prevent more deaths from this disease.
As I navigated through discussions and presentations, I became more aware of the importance of being comfortable with not knowing everything. Being the person in the room with an arts background and someone who gave up biology after just one year didn’t hinder my ability to contribute to the cause. Instead, it opened up opportunities to ask questions, collaborate more effectively, and ensure that different voices were heard in the room.
The day reinforced my dedication to learning and growing in the fight against pancreatic cancer. I am committed to asking more questions, fostering collaboration, and sharing knowledge to achieve better outcomes for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer—sooner rather than later.
In closing, I extend my gratitude to everyone who cares enough to contribute to the cause. Together, we can make strides in research, support more families, and work towards preventing more deaths from pancreatic cancer. For more information on pancreatic cancer symptoms, visit www.nipanc.org/symptoms.