My Story is about My sister Viola Irving-Powell

This event took place from 26 Jan 2013 to 29 Jan 2020

The Discovery

My sister Vi had been having back pain, abdominal pain and weight loss. She was being treated for these symptoms but misdiagnosed as to what was causing them. On June 26, 2013 the pain and weight loss got so severe that she was taken to the hospital . It was at that time she was told that she had pancreatic cancer. Our lives were changed forever.

This is My Story

I lost my sister on June 7, 2013, after only four short months of battling pancreatic cancer. She was schedule to participate in her first PurpleStride on June 15, 2015, but instead we were having her funeral on this date. How could this have happened? How could I be burying my 53 year old sister and best friend. I promised her a month earlier that if she did not survive the disease I would continue to support PanCAN and the cause. The day after burying my sister I remember asking myself , “What do I do now”? The answer came to me quickly…You keep fighting so that others don’t have to experience what you are experiencing. It is through this fight that I have met some amazing individuals who are(were) in the fight with me. One was my brave friend Adam Deal who instantly became my virtual brother and we fought together until he finished (not lost) his battle in December 2020 and my dear friend Sang Watts who finished her fight in May 2021. They fought with the bravery and courage of a fearless warrior. It is hard when you do get the outcome or healing that you pray and fight for. It knocks you down hard, but you get back up and remember you are now in charge of keeping these individuals in the fight and their memories alive. That is what I owe them. It is the least I can give to them. When I leave this earth I pray that part of my legacy will be that I helped change the outcome of this disease. Year from now history will pay homage to all those who fought to change the story a face of pancreatic cancer!

The Impact of Time

We had very little time from diagnosis to death with my sister. She was diagnosed on January 26, 2013 and died on June 7, 2013 which was my brother’s birthday. I wish I was more educated on the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer before my sister was diagnosed . I think about daily how educated I am on the disease and the resources available through PanCAN. Not a day goes by that I don’ t regret not taking the “TIME” to be more aware about this disease. I had heard of several high profile people and even a colleague being diagnosed. It always gave me a pause and their stories captured my attention, but I didn’t follow my gut instinct to learn more. I think about that all the time, but this this is my first time writing it or even admitting my feelings, regret and guilt. How I wish I had followed my instinct to read and learn more. Time is the more precious thing we have . Always wishing for more, but are we careful not to waste or misuse what we have? Since unexpectedly losing my sister and mother, I use every second of my time to make a difference in the work. It is our most valuable commodity.