Spreading Awareness for Pancreas Research
How You Can Help…
Gain KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge is key! The first line of defense for a patient is knowledge. The hope is that this site can present information about pancreatic diseases in a simple, easy-to-understand, way. As we gain knowledge, we gain power.
Support a PATIENT: This is by far one of the most important. It can be personal (one-on-one) or through groups. People who suffer from pancreatic diseases often suffer for years, and life can become debilitating. It can be hard for some who suffer to ask for help, but you can reach out to them and ask specifically if you can do something... run errands, set up meals, help with appointments or contacting doctors and insurance companies on their behalf. Simply offer support through encouragement, and send a card or note. It can mean a lot. You don't have to "know" what to say, just say you are thinking of them. Often, just a listening ear and some compassion can get them through another day. Please read more on the How To Help A Sufferer page. It offers many tangible suggestions and insights.
Spread AWARENESS: The more that people spread the word about pancreatic diseases, the more there is focus for funding and research. Speak up and share with others (even those who do not suffer) the knowledge, information, and websites that you find. There are many people suffering who do not/cannot get proper medical treatment. You may be the link for someone in need or someone who can help.
Provide DONATIONS: So much is still misunderstood and unknown about diseases and cancers of the pancreas, and doctors continue to be misinformed. Slowly, the medical community is becoming aware of the important need for better diagnostic tests, treatments, and options for those with pancreas problems. You can make a difference in providing any amount towards funding and research in this area. Donations to organizations such as the National Pancreas Foundation can truly make a difference. You can even send donations to specific research programs such as the Digestive Disease Center at MUSC . You may always cite the intended usage of your funds to the specific area of research you wish, such as chronic pancreatitis. Note it on your check or in a letter accompanying your donation.
Support through PURCHASES: You can purchase items that provide proceeds for funding and research. The National Pancreas Foundation offers great items such as bracelets, shirts, etc. Also, if you like to read, a doctor from MUSC (Dr. Cotton) who was a pioneer in ERCP treatments wrote a very interesting and humorous memoir, and all of his proceeds go towards advancements in endoscopic procedures. (He has also written wonderful children's books!) Here is the link to purchase his book.
Participate in CLINICAL TRIALS: Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a personal decision. Participants can play a more active role in their health care, gain access to new research treatments, and help others by contributing to medical research. If you are interested, check out ClinicalTrials.gov for more information about what clinical trials are currently being conducted, their purposes, and the contact information.
Write LETTERS: Have you ever written your congressmen about important issues? Funding for pancreatic research can be one of them! Write to your congressmen expressing the need for increased federal funding today. The National Institute of Health is a major source of means for research funding in the United States, but much fewer dollars are spent on pancreatic diseases and pancreatic cancer than any other. While pancreatic cancer accounts for five times the deaths compared to breast cancer (when death rate is adjusted for incidence of cancer), federal funding for pancreatic cancer is minuscule in comparison. There is a crisis in the research and treatment options for pancreatic disease. This must change. By advocating for more aggressive federal funding, it in turn attracts high-quality researchers/scientists in this particular area of expertise. They will study what funding provides. So, get out your pen and paper (or even e-mail these days) and write a personal letter. It is shown to be one of the most effective ways to influence our law-makers. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Here are some tips and resources to help you:
The best letters are courteous, to the point (it doesn't need to be long!), and give specific supporting examples if possible. Make sure to include your name and address if you wish to get a response (anonymous letters do not get much credit or attention). You can send them to the addresses below, or click the links to find specific addresses to your U.S. Senator or Representative. Always thank them for reading your letter!
How To Address Letters Written to Members of Congress:
To Your Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
To Your Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515