A charity worker from Dunmurry is seeking to recruit volunteers to help her raise awareness about pancreatic cancer.
Since joining Pancreatic Cancer UK almost two years ago, Andrea Kearns has worked throughout Northern Ireland providing essential information about pancreatic cancer to patients, family members and healthcare professionals.
Her role as the charity’s Northern Ireland Community Co-ordinator involves her raising awareness about pancreatic cancer among GPs and the general public, working on policies and campaigns and supporting local fundraising efforts.
The 46-year-old qualified counsellor, who is planning to trek Machu Picchu in Peru next March to raise funds for the charity’s vital work, says she wanted to work for a cancer charity ever since her father lost his battle against the illness at the age of 42.
Pancreatic cancer can be extremely difficult to diagnose. However, Andrea says there is a general lack of knowledge about the condition and its symptoms - something she’s keen to change through the recruitment of ‘information volunteers’ across Northern Ireland.
“I am incredibly proud of the work I have done increasing the awareness of pancreatic cancer and its symptoms across Northern Ireland, but unfortunately as just one person, I don’t have the reach that is needed to support all those affected by pancreatic cancer,” she said.
“I am currently looking for ‘information volunteers’ from anywhere across the country to help educate people about the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and where to get help if they require it.
“We saw a 41 per cent increase in pancreatic cancer in Northern Ireland in one year, so it’s vital that we get more knowledge and information out there about the illness.
“I’ve got three volunteers at the minute who are absolutely fantastic, but I’m keen to get more people onboard so we can reach out more and make people more aware because early diagnosis is crucial to survival,” she added.
Meanwhile, Andrea is also promoting the Pancreatic Cancer UK Patient Experience Survey, so people with pancreatic cancer can report on the impact the disease has had on them, helping to ensure patients receive the appropriate care and treatment they need.
Anyone with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis can take part in the survey by visiting https://tinyurl.com/2017pcuk or calling 01865 208 108.
To find out more about becoming an ‘information volunteer’ call Andrea on 07464 824189 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer log on to www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk