Nicki’s Smile was set up in memory of Nicki Blake who lost her battle to pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer on the 11th November 2010, aged just 33, leaving behind her devoted husband Dan and three year old son, Joshua.
Nicki’s beautiful personality and smile were taken from her family and friends too early. She never complained about her illness and went about her everyday life as a wife, mother to Joshua and devoted primary school teacher.
Twenty months earlier Nicki was diagnosed with an advanced form of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. Tragically the cancer had already spread from the pancreas to her liver and bones and she was therefore inoperable. She bravely fought the illness, enduring numerous cycles of chemotherapy, endoscopies and targeted radionuclide therapy under the specialist multi-disciplinary team at the Royal Free Hospital.
Just over a year before she was diagnosed, Nicki complained of such severe back and abdominal pain that she went to A&E. Unfortunately potential warning signs for cancer growth in the pancreas were not picked up and she was sent home with anti-inflammatory medication.
With improved awareness of how to identify symptoms, doctors could have requested an ultrasound/abdominal CT. This would almost certainly have shown a tumour in the head of her pancreas that would have more than likely been suitable for surgery. Nicki would still be alive today.
Pancreatic cancer research is very much under-funded despite the fact that it is the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths in Europe and the USA. In the UK:
- over 7,600 people are diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer every year
- fewer than 20% survive more than one year
- less than 3% survive more than five years.
Nicki’s Smile is determined to raise significant sums through fundraising campaigns to make a real difference and ensure that, in the future, survival statistics of pancreatic cancer are improved. Research and early diagnosis initiatives can make this a reality. If Nicki’s Smile makes a difference to even one person, then her death would not have been in vain.
Help us raise vital funds to support specific initiatives aiding research and early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and give it the higher priority it desperately needs.
Nicki’s Smile is a fund hosted by Pancreatic Cancer UK who will ring-fence all monies raised to support our Vision and Aim.