On Monday, The Next Generation‘s Jonathan Frakes, and Deep Space Nine‘s Armin Shimerman and his wife Kitty Swink shared their stories about dealing with pancreatic cancer in themselves and in their families.
The trio hosted the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PanCAN) Action week 2021, which included stories from others affected by pancreatic cancer. The purpose of the event was to send a message to Congress in hopes of supporting and funding pancreatic cancer research. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death, with a miserable five-year survival rate of only ten percent.
“I’m grateful to say that I am a seventeen-year-survivor of pancreatic cancer, ” said Swink. “I know my story is unique, but I’m here to offer you hope that people can survive pancreatic cancer. This March I shared the news that it was my seventeenth of my Whipple surgery. And so many people reached out to let me know what an impact I made on them just by sharing my story.”
“I’m happy to be here with you this evening,” said Shimerman. When my wife Kitty was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her oncologist Dr. Decker said ‘don’t go online and look up the survival rate for pancreatic cancer. Your wife is not a number, she’s a person and we will treat her as a person.’ And here we are, seventeen years later. I feel enormously lucky to have Kitty by my side today.
Frakes shared his own story of losing a brother to pancreatic cancer. “Twenty-four years ago, I lost my best friend, my brother Daniel, to this disease,” he said. “He was given eight months to live and even though at the time, we did everything we could, he passed away six months later, one week before my daughter was born. So I personally understand the pain and the fear that a pancreatic cancer diagnosis brings onto a family and their loved ones. That’s why I’m standing here tonight and using my voice for action to support PanCAN and advocate for everyone impacted by this disease. As a community, we are stronger together. No one should go through this alone. And while this disease is a terrible diagnosis, there is always hope, and we are making progress.”
Send a message to Congress here.