Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

As we approach the holidays, where family is the center of most activities, I can’t help but miss my dad more than ever. Of course every day goes by, and I wish he was here-and every year he is gone feels like forever and yesterday all at once. Its a feeling that will never goes away. If you don’t know, My father, Chuck Willett died of Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer in December 2011.

To be honest, becoming an advocate for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network was a hard role to step into. There were so many feelings of frustration wishing my Dad could’ve been able to wear “SURVIVOR” across his chest one day.

But then something changed. As much as this cancer seemed hopeless-with a 9% survival rate and most cases found in terminal Stage 4- I found a pride in who I am and what I could do.

My father gave me the gift of music- a treasured talent which makes him very much alive in me to this day- and I decided to share the message of Hope. With Tova Litvin and Liz Russo (two other women who have been effected by a loved one diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer) we wrote “Hope’s Alive”- and anthem for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. (All proceeds raised from the streaming and sale of the song with go to PanCAN-for patients, research, clinical trial funding, and advocacy.)

Music can be the most comforting friend; be there when you feel like you have nothing else. It can help you understand, and feel like you’re understood. Music can inspire in ways that seem unimaginable.

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

I advocate for this organization, because I know change is possible. I have been traveling to PurpleStrides all over the country to share “Hope’s Alive” and one thing that always strikes me the growing number of people wearing “SURVIVOR” shirts at the events. Though my dad didn’t get to wear one, I see him in all of those people. I see that his musical gift to me is helping the outcome of a Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis.

Above all, we must be our own advocate. We must fight for what we believe in.

And I fight for PanCan- I fight for my Dad.


Erin Willett