Walk to the moon helps cancer battle

by MedicMall Admin
Source: http://phnews.org.au/


Raising money for pancreatic cancer research is as easy as taking a walk. And this year, more than 1,100 people pounded the pavement in memory of a special Melbourne resident.

When Rita Agati was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in mid-2021, the Walk4Rita Step Challenge was created to raise awareness about the disease, as well as funds for both her family and the Jreissati Pancreatic Centre at Epworth HealthCare. 

Rita, a human resources director at financial advisory group Viridian, sadly died six months later at 56 years old. 

During the past three years, the annual event has raised $222,040 for the centre, with its 1,863 entrants completing a combined 480 million steps – enough to cover the distance to the moon.

The Jreissati Pancreatic Centre's Director, Associate Professor Andrew Metz, said the donations from steppers were vital to its work.

“Pancreatic cancer is going to be the second-biggest cause of cancer deaths by 2030, but events like the Walk4Rita have a positive impact, as they help raise awareness and funds for the fight against pancreatic cancer,” he said.

“In the centre’s first two years, we have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have told us they’ve been touched by pancreatic cancer and want to help, and the Walk4Rita event is a demonstration of that help.”

Donations have contributed to ensuring every new diagnosis is seen within 72 hours, with treatment discussed by clinicians from a range of different specialties including gastroenterologists, surgeons, oncologists, dieticians and psychologists.

Each patient, and their family, is supported by a Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist as the first point of contact to answer questions and concerns. 

A/Prof Metz said donations had also helped boost research into the disease, which has over 4,000 new cases in Australia every year.

“We have more than 20 investigator-led research studies that we think will truly make a difference in diagnosis, treatment, and survival rates of pancreatic cancer,” he said.

Education is also key to improving diagnosis. 

The Jreissati Pancreatic Centre at Epworth has sent more than 3,000 pancreas models to general practice clinics across Victoria to improve education and awareness of pancreatic cancer, while its dedicated website has been visited 52,000 times in 2023.


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