Sandy Eglin, the face of the 2018 Christmas Appeal, is a self-described ‘Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Fighter’ whose tumultuous journey has motivated her to raise the profile of – and funds for – pancreatic cancer research. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all major cancers and securing funding for this research is difficult.
Sandy was first introduced to the work of the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) by her oncologist, Associate Professor Nick Pavlakis, who co-heads the research team at the lab. The lab works to fast-track cutting edge pancreatic cancer research into clinical practice. RNSH prides itself on the best survival outcomes Australia-wide for pancreatic cancer patients, and Sandy recognized the significant positive impacts the work of the Bill Walsh Lab had on her journey.
With her daughter Maddy, Sandy organised a trivia night to raise money for the lab. What started as an evening out for 100 people with a fundraising target of $5,000, morphed into a huge event with 400 guests raising over $45,000.
“Obviously, we’re over the moon with the amount of support we received,” said Sandy. “The Bill Walsh Research Lab has made significant discoveries already and I can’t wait to see the changes they make in the pancreatic cancer space in the future.”
Proceeds from the event, along with $29,000 raised in our annual Christmas appeal, have been put towards the next step in the team’s recently published research, which identified biomarkers in tumour tissue that can be used to predict patient outcomes. The funds have enabled the team to purchase equipment required to measure these recently identified tumour biomarkers in patient blood samples.
“This is an exciting discovery that will allow for better personalised pancreatic cancer treatment prior to surgery,” said Nick, “Our research initiatives have the potential for a paradigm shift in pancreatic cancer treatment and management – and we’re doing it for people like Sandy.”