PCAM 2020: A year to remember

2020 is a year to remember in so many ways, but November 2020 will definitely go down in history as the year we saw the pancreatic cancer community rally together to make an impact like never before.

Here’s what happened in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month 2020

A staggering £419,451 was raised by our incredible fundraisers all the while navigating lockdowns and tier restrictions. Not only that, they raised more than in 2019!

  • We saw take away Afternoon Tea boxes sold and distributed in place of a bake sale, raising over £900
  • A Challenge 24 consisting of a supporter running 24 miles over 24 days wearing full Police Riot gear
  • A chemist who usually holds a collection and awareness stand – changed it up this year and hosted an online raffle, which raised over £1,000
  • Team Northern Ireland Challenge 24 coordinated by Andrea, our Communities Engagement Lead in Northern Ireland, raised over £1,900. There were 16 team members. Some personally affected by pancreatic cancer and others that wanted to support and raise awareness. The challenges varied but included cycling, running, boxing, sit ups, press ups and social media detox to name but a few!

The weather was horrendous for most of the 24 days and yet everyone pushed themselves beyond any expectations I ever had. The moral support was incredible. My brother was injured and his partner took over the baton to finish his challenge, which was just amazing.

Andrea, Pancreatic Cancer UK's Communities Engagement Lead in Northern Ireland

Charities and people affected by pancreatic cancer across the globe came together on World Pancreatic Cancer Day (WPCD) to put a spotlight on pancreatic cancer.

  • Through the Purple Lights for pancreatic cancer campaign (a collaboration of charities) there were nearly 140 light ups involving landmarks as well as the homes of supporters across the UK. This is an incredible result considering many places were forced to shut this year due to the pandemic
  • Iconic landmarks lit the sky in purple including Edinburgh Castle, St Pancras Station and Tower 42 in London
  • Images of light ups, symptom information and dress purple selfies could be seen across social media and there was great pick up of light ups in local and regional media with over 40 pieces of coverage

Unsurprisingly much of our awareness activity had a digital focus this November, especially in sharing the symptoms of the disease.

  • We had a fantastic 128,000 likes, shares and comments across our own social channels, which enabled us to get the word out there about the disease and the symptoms
  • We provided more downloads than ever before so you could flood your social profiles with PCAM content and even had a ZOOM background for your home lockdown meetings
  • Special mention should go to Lynn, our Volunteer Lead in England and Wales, who dressed in a different purple outfit every day of PCAM and shared the importance of knowing the symptoms on her Twitter feed!

Support for our No Time to Wait campaign kept climbing throughout November. You joined us to call on NHS decision makers to ensure people with pancreatic cancer are not kept waiting for treatment.

  • Thousands of you joined the campaign in November taking the total number of supporters to over 60,000
  • We launched our first ever outdoor advertising campaign in Birmingham, Glasgow, London, Southampton and Manchester, thanks to the generosity of Ocean Outdoor for donating the space to us. Have you spotted Bryony, the face of our #NoTimeToWait campaign, whilst out and about?

We hit the headlines throughout the UK with coverage featuring many of our supporters and spokespeople.

  • Former MP Eric Martlew was on BBC Radio Cumbria talking about symptoms. Listen again (tune in from 1:40:00). He also had an article featured in the News & Star and was interviewed on ITV Borders with our very own Anna Jewell, Director of Support, Research and Influencing
  • Siblings Stephen and Megan were in The South Wales Echo, Wales on Sunday and Wales Online
  • Another one of our amazing supporters, Sarah, told of her dad’s experience of pancreatic cancer to the Scottish press and was featured in The Scottish Daily Express, Glasgow Evening News and Glasgow Live
  • BBC Radio Somerset interviewed 17-year-old Abbie Winn, who’s mum died of pancreatic cancer, and our CEO Diana. Listen again
  • Our Patient and Carer Board member, Karen Stead was on BBC Radio Leeds. Listen again (tune in from 1:23:00).
  • A school in Northampton took on Challenge 24 in honour of their teacher who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The story appeared in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

While we couldn’t organise parliamentary events we took our lobbying online, and engaged with a debate on 18th November in Scottish parliament virtually.

  • Thanks to hundreds of messages from our supporters, politicians from across the whole UK have been tweeting about the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, including Kevin Hollinrake MP
  • A debate in Scottish parliament centred on the awareness month, with 8 MSPs from across all parties speaking
  • MSPs used their speeches to highlight pancreatic cancer’s poor survival rates, the hard work of pancreatic cancer charities and the need for symptoms awareness
  • Gordon Lindhurst MSP, whose friend Anna died of pancreatic cancer, gave a poignant tribute to Anna as well as highlighting exciting plans to introduce new Rapid Diagnostic Centres in Scotland – something we’ve long been calling for
  • Running for its fourth year in a row, the Debate on Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month has become a key date in the diary, led by Clare Adamson MSP. It’s a key opportunity to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer in Scotland and call for change, as well as to hear from the Health Minister on their thoughts on the disease and commitments to improve treatment and care.

The pandemic didn’t stop dedicated health professionals in the pancreatic cancer field from showing their support and raising awareness in hospitals.

  • In Stockport, nurses Steph, Hayley and the team at Stepping Hill Hospital held an awareness stand, distributing cakes to staff to celebrate the month and hosting a number of teaching sessions about pancreatic cancer for pharmacists, dietitians and the gastro team
  • Over in Dudley at the Russell Hall Hospital, Emma and Lynne on the gastroenterology ward held a cake sale and raffle raising a fantastic £627.21. The team have been supporting our work for the past couple of years since Lynne sadly lost her brother-in-law to this disease at just 53
  • At the Lane Ends Surgery in Preston, Anne and her team raised awareness of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer by holding a raffle. They secured an incredible selection of prizes generously donated by the local community and businesses in Preston, far surpassing their fundraising goal

We received fantastic support through some very special partnerships during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

  • We teamed up with Brompton Bicycle to auction a one-of-a-kind S6L Brompton Bike which raised an incredible £7,900
  • We once again partnered with our friends at St Pancras. They turned purple, changed their name to St Pancreas and shared our campaign and symptoms content on their social channels and website for a whole week. They even organised for Benjamin Kahn a French pianist who played at St. Pancreas every day for five years to take over St. Pancreas International’s Instagram to perform a 30 minute live set from his home studio!

Thank you to all our wonderful supporters, collaborators and partners for all that you have done to make PCAM 2020 one to remember!