Lenzie's Lesley is on a mission after losing her mum to pancreatic cancer

Lesley Irving from Kirkintilloch has been on a mission to light up Scottish landmarks purple to shine a light on pancreatic cancer.

Lenzie firm Coda and local woman Lesley Irving

Lesley lost her mum Pauline to pancreatic cancer in June 2020, only four months after she received her devastating diagnosis. And since then, Lesley has been determined to raise awareness of the disease.

She’s had local support from Coda Estate Agents in Lenzie, through her friend and business owner Sharon Cooke, while Nine Two Design also put together a digital billboard. Further support came from Charlene O'Donnell and Jade Monaghan of Glitterbug boutique in Bishopbriggs.

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As well as this, Lesley has gained the support of some of Scotland’s landmark buildings, including Glasgow’s Central Station, who have lit their iconic clock purple, as well as their arches. In Edinburgh the Scottish Government buildings St Andrews House and Victoria Quay, were externally lit, as were all the council hubs in East Dunbartonshire on Thursday.

The aim of the World Pancreatic Cancer Day campaign is to reach more people, raise awareness, get them talking about pancreatic cancer – and ultimately to save more lives.

Lesley, who works as a nursery teacher at Lenzie Meadow Early Years Centre, is also a supporter of charity Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland and has so far raised over £5,000 for the charity.

This is also the second year that Lesley has arranged for landmarks to turn purple.

Lesley said: “With some cancers you might get time but there was no time with mum. In February we were enjoying coffees on a Saturday and within weeks she had been destroyed by pancreatic cancer.”

“When I felt lost, I thought I was best doing something positive, and I’m determined to keep going. I really hope that through fundraising and raising awareness we can help other people as more needs to be done to create better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients.”

Fiona Brown, Finance and Development Manager for Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland said: “Lesley's passion and determination to raise funds and awareness is inspiring.

"Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland is determined to ensure that the 2020's is the decade of change for pancreatic cancer.”

“Our supporters will play a huge role in that. Lesley's energy and efforts to raise awareness about the symptoms might just be the spark that results in an earlier diagnosis, which greatly enhances the chances of survival. We are extremely grateful for Lesley's support.”

Ali Stunt is the founding CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action and 14-year survivor.

She said: “As you know November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Started in 2011 to raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer to aid early diagnosis and save lives. Because the diagnosis, treatment, nor survival rates have significantly changed in 50 years. Pancreatic cancer is the 5th biggest cause of cancer death in the UK; however, it is set to become the 4th, overtaking breast cancer by 2026 as other cancers' survival rates continue to improve. That is why Pancreatic Cancer Action has set out a campaign to make the next ten years a decade of change.

"The survival rate beyond ten years is just 1% for pancreatic cancer, even if treatment is an option. To give context, the ten-year survival rate for breast cancer is 76%, prostate cancer is 78%, and bowel cancer is 53%.

"We need to see pancreatic cancer given greater individual focus and no longer grouped together with rare and less common cancers.”