Fundraising for EUROPAC – a mission for a lifetime
After suffering with hereditary chronic pancreatitis for most of his life, Adam Eshborn of Catterall, Lancashire has chosen to start on a fundraising mission for the European Registry of Hereditary Pancreatitis and Familial Pancreatic Cancer (EUROPAC). Read on to find out about his story, and what he is doing to support EUROPAC’s vital research into pancreatitis.
"Up to now, hereditary chronic pancreatitis affects nine members of my close and extended family. My mum got cancer and died from it, as did one of my cousins. My youngest son also has the rogue gene, he is 10 years old which is around the same age as when I started with the symptoms and chronic pain."
Talking about when his symptoms first started as a child, Adam said: "I was having bouts of chronic pain but doctors didn't know what it was back then, and I only got officially diagnosed in 2004. Since then, I've had to take tablets every time I eat, as I don’t produce enzymes to break down the food."
"I've always known a point would come when I would probably need surgery of some sort, I always thought or hoped it would be in my 50s/60s, but I was 46 years old in October 2019, when I was told it had to be done now. With all the chronic attacks my pancreas had been getting, calcium was building up. The calcification had basically taken over all of my pancreas, and was then too close to linking onto major arteries behind my pancreas."
In March 2020, just before the first COVID-19 lockdown, Adam had a total pancreatectomy. This was a major operation to remove his pancreas, gallbladder, some of his small intestine and part of his stomach. Adam said: "My consultant at EUROPAC in Liverpool had been monitoring me for years and said the time was now or never for the operation. He called it 100% right, because once taken out, in the biopsy of my pancreas it was revealed the cells were actually changing to cancerous cells."
"It was a life changing operation and left me with insulin-dependent diabetes, along with other things that I will have to deal with and manage but it’s a whole lot better than the alternative."
Since having his operation, and following the experiences of his family, Adam wants to support EUROPAC on their world-leading, life-changing treatment and research. He said: "I owe my life to Professor Halloran, his team and the fantastic NHS. So, I will be making it my life ambition to raise money and awareness of EUROPAC by doing various physical challenges to the end of my days."
"I initially set myself a challenge to run a distance of 50 to 100km in March 2022, two years after my total pancreatectomy surgery, however I have now decided to also run a minimum of a marathon distance every month in 2022. These runs do not come easy to me. I have had to build the distance up very slowly and every run is hard in one way or another. For one thing, without a pancreas I have brittle diabetes which is very erratic and hard to control. Plus, I still have stomach issues and stomach pains. But I will do it, because my charity challenge for EUROPAC means a lot to me."
"For anyone thinking about donating to my campaign, thank you. It means a lot to me and to many other people who have hereditary chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer or who know someone who has the condition. It can be silent killer, because it is hard to detect but I was one of the lucky ones. Without EUROPAC and the fantastic NHS, I wouldn’t be here today. So, I will thank them for the rest of my life."
Visit Adam’s JustGiving page to support his campaign to fundraise for the incredible research taking place at EUROPAC: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adam-eshborn2
The EUROPAC study involves pancreas specialists from the University of Liverpool and across Europe who are aiming to improve treatment and detection for all pancreatic diseases. In the immediate term, EUROPAC offer a point of contact for individuals who are aware of their inherited risk and need support in managing their anxiety.
To find out more about the work of EUROPAC and how you can support this research, please visit: www.liverpool.ac.uk/giving/priorities/other/europac/