On Sunday 26 January, more than 80 people got together at Professor Andrew Biankin’s house in Glasgow for an afternoon of poetry and music to celebrate Burns Night and Australia Day – and to raise £5,624.06 for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland (PCS) to continue their fantastic work in raising the profile of pancreatic cancer and working to support and improve outcomes for patients.
Guests were welcomed by Alan Graham’s amazing piping and MC Clare English kept up the pace of a packed programme. Clare reminded the audience that pancreatic canceris brutal disease – seldom detected in its early stages and with poor outcomes. Around 10,000 people are diagnosed each year in the UK and most of them, 9,300, do not survive. Pancreatic cancer will soon become the second leading cause of cancer death in Western societies after lung cancer.
The event also highlighted the work of the UK-wide Precision-Panc trials programme researchers who will help to drive change, including Professor Andrew Biankin, Dr David Chang and Dr Nigel Jamieson from the University of Glasgow as well as Glasgow Precision Oncology Laboratory’s Dr Susie Cooke’s and her work on the new Glasgow Cancer Test.
Professor Biankin spoke about the need for the same progress that has been made in some cancers, being applied to all cancers. “Fifty years ago, women didn’t know how to examine their breasts, recognise breast cancer or have screening, but with a lot of investment of time, energy and money we have seen death rates from breast cancer fall from 50% to 10%. That’s the difference we can make and that’s what we need to do for all cancers, and particularly for pancreatic cancer,” he said.
Fiona Brown, PCS Development Manager, said that while cancer survival rates have been improving for other cancers, there has been relatively little progress when it comes to improving the bleak scenario for pancreatic cancer patients over the past 50 years. She invited guests to support PCS and their vision to make the decade from 2020, the time to turn around these horrible statistics.
Fiona spoke about the work of PCS in health awareness, cancer support and education and the vision for the 2020s to be the decade of change for pancreatic cancer. “But we can’t do that alone and we need your help,” she said. “Many people don’t hear about pancreatic cancer until it affects someone you know and love. I speak to many people who are facing pancreatic cancer, either themselves or because family or friends have the disease. I want to share the hope that I know survivors, and I dream of the day that all pancreatic cancer patients will be survivors. We can all – charities, researchers, the public – work together to make the 2020s a decade of change for pancreatic cancer.”
Fiona invited guests to go to the Pancreatic Cancer Scotland website and click on the Join The Clan button to join the PanCan Clan and be part of the 2020s vision. She also reminded them that 19 November 2020 will be World Pancreatic Cancer Day.
The event was also attended by PCS co-founder pancreatic surgeon Ross Carter, PCS supporters Eileen Campbell, Fiona Sinclair, Isobel and Adrian McMurchie, patient advocate Lesley Stephen, campaigner Linda Murray, Nicky McManus and Clare Adamson MSP.
The Burns Supper haggis was piped into the event and properly addressed by poet, Tom Coats, with assistance from Gordon Yuill, Max Biankin and Sandy Welch. This was followed by music from Andrew Biankin on guitar and Philip Leslie on piano, followed by Barbara Downie with a mix of Scottish music and reels.
Poet Tom Coats later recited Robert Burns To a Mouse and Professor Anthony Chalmers performed a piece by Chopin. Amy and Barbara Downie and Andrew Biankin performed Craig Armstrong’s Glasgow Love Theme. Other performers included Professor Iain McInnes, David Bryant, Zach Claudino and Max Biankin.
Andy Alston (DelAmitri) joined Barbara Downie to perform Wait for Me and sang with Andrew and Max Biankin on Peter Allen’s I still call Australia Home. The evening finished with the Proclaimers Sunshine of Leith.
We want to thank everyone associated with making this event such a success – the musicians who played so brilliantly and the sponsors including: WilliamCafe, Glasgow; AG Barr’s Irn Bru Soft Drinks and Funkin Cocktails; RC Brady for PCS-branded leather card holders; Mac Events; celebrated restaurateur, Gordon Yuill & Co; Inverarity Morton; Bespoke Touches; Uisge Source, water of Scotland; and Cairns and Scott Catering.