The Onslow family raised $75,000 that was donated to Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society research and patient support.
Carla’s Crusader for Pancreatic Cancer, which is a five-kilometre bike, run or walk in Yorkton, just completed its third year of fundraising in August. The money raised in those three years honours Carla Onslow’s courageous two-year fight with the disease.
She was in very good physical condition prior to the diagnosis, as she was a marathon runner and avid walker. She did not drink or smoke.
Carla was diagnosed in August 2019, having run a marathon just six weeks before. Carla, with her husband Dick, immediately called their son, Dryw Onslow, and shared the terrible news. She was given weeks to live.
Dryw was working on the tractor at the time she called and he quickly searched the disease online. The information that he found was devastating.
The decision was made to fight with everything they had. Carla was quoted, “You don’t know how strong you are until strong is the only option you have.”
She decided early on to spend as much time with her grandchildren as possible.
“She was a fighter! She took treatments right up until the end," Dryw said.
Carla lost her battle in September 2021. Her fight gave her two years of love and family. Carla’s Crusaders raised $35,000 by the end of July 2021. Carla took part in the first walk in August 2021; surrounded by family and friends, she continued to raise awareness and funds in support of research and education.
In November, after raising the impressive amount of $75,000 over three years, a donation was presented at the National Pancreas Conference as a grant honouring her memory, to a researcher whose focus is continued research and exploration in the field. This research is vital to improving the lives of those fighting pancreatic cancer, their families struggling in support, and those to be diagnosed in the future.
The pancreas is a vital organ in the digestive process. The organ secretes enzymes and digestive juices that combine with food. It processes this combination of fat, proteins and carbohydrates so that they can absorb into the intestine.
It is often referred to as the hidden organ, found deep in the abdomen, between the back of the stomach and spine. It also produces insulin distributed through blood flow. Insulin regulates sugars and glucose levels in the blood. This entire process is valuable to maintaining good health.
New research indicates pancreatic cancer may be related to hereditary factors. Symptoms include changes in stool, mid-back pain, unexplained weight loss, new onset diabetes, stomach pain, indigestion, jaundice, fatigue, blood clots and loss of appetite.
There is no effective screening or test to identify pancreatic cancer. It is because of this that patients are rarely diagnosed in early stages. The fatality rate is 92 per cent. One in 10 survive past five years. This year 4,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, most often in late stages.
Carla’s Crusader is a provincial, registered charity affiliated with Craig’s Cause – Kicking PancreAS. Stefanie Condon-Oldreive began Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society in memory of her dad Craig Schurman Condon, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died eight weeks from his original diagnosis.
The organization was formed in 2007 as a non-profit foundation after he died. In 2012 the organization was rebranded and became a registered national charity.
Pancreatic cancer is little-known to most individuals. In the hope of changing this, Craig’s Cause was formed.
Its mission: "Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society is a national charity dedicated to both increasing survival and improving the quality of life for every Canadian diagnosed with pancreatic cancer through awareness raising, education, support and research."
Their vision: "A world where surviving pancreatic cancer is expected."
By partnering with numerous national and international groups and charities, Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society has raised over $2 million for research and support programs patients and their support systems, medical, scientific and emotional. All funds raised goes to research, patient support, education and awareness.
Pancreatic cancer is the 11th-most diagnosed cancer in Canada. It is also the third deadliest. Funding is essential to curbing these numbers through research and information. For more information, people can go to craigscause.ca or call 1-877-212-9582. They can also visit Carla’s Crusaders for Pancreatic Cancer on Facebook.