Be a dragon slayer!
In the late spring, Bret and I were asked to film a promo spot that was to air this November during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. But last summer time moved in a macabre dance - either too slow or too fast and the spot was never filmed. Still, here I am.
During our two years at Johns Hopkins, I met a lot of doctors, nurses, PA's, technicians and administrative support staff. These folks are brilliant - often having multiple doctoral degrees: Medicine, chemistry, physics... They come to Baltimore from all over the world with one mission - to defeat pancreas cancer - to slay the dragon.
You can see it in their eyes - the determination - the singular focus. You hear it in the cafeteria over coffee - statistics and brainstorming ideas floating over the tables - researchers never stopping in their quest, always engaging each other about their work. And when you sit with these great minds and they tell you that they will try their best - you believe them.
And when Bret was no longer technically in their care - they called to check on him. They answered my emails within hours. They continued to be our dragon slayers. And after he died, they called and wrote and I am pretty sure cried and they promised me that they would never forget and that finding a cure would be their mission until they could no longer practice medicine.
So it is important to get funds into the hands, the minds and the labs of these innovative researchers. Their work is often independent of big corporate pharmaceutical companies so funding is critical. Today I would like to point you in the direction of the Nikki Mitchell Foundation - a small, hard-working organization that has begun to award grants to researchers; those dragon slayers in the trenches, facing the enemy day after day after day.
The Nikki Mitchell Foundation also supports families - like mine, throwing me an emotional life preserver when I needed it most. They sent Thanksgiving dinner to our family, they paid a bill or two, they sent grocery store gift cards and as the end of Bret’s life approached they had the decency to support me not with the platitudes too often present in the death industry but with gentle support of the harsh reality of what was about to happen.
So I hope that you will consider, especially this month, supporting this wonderful organization and becoming a dragon slayer.