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Art Teacher Holds Exhibition as a Tribute to Deceased Mother

Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd

Claire Gillen, an art teacher at Hylands School in Clemsford, Essex is all too familiar with the pain that comes from losing a loved one to pancreatic cancer. So far she has lost her grandfather as well as her mother, Brenda Fulcher, to pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is often referred to as the “silent cancer” due the disease’s tendency to be diagnosed long after it can be treated. In fact, both her grandfather and mother were originally misdiagnosed. Gillen claims the double misdiagnosis was a huge reason her relatives lacked the time to access proper treatment options before it was too late.

Yet, Gillen decided to turn her personal tragedies into a source of inspiration and hope. In 2012, she hosted an art exhibition at a local hospital out of a sense of obligation to heighten public awareness surrounding pancreatic cancer. The art exhibition raised around 300 GBP for Pancreatic Cancer UK.

But she didn’t stop there. Before her mother’s death, Gillen vowed to continue campaigning in support of pancreatic cancer awareness, and that’s exactly what she doing today. Through November 2015, Gillen is presenting another art exhibition at the Colchester General Hospital’s Constable Gallery.

She encourages everyone that wants to get involved with the cause to visit the exhibition and buy the featured art. A third of all proceeds with are donated to Pancreatic Cancer UK.

The American Cancer Society offers several sobering statistics about the ravages of pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2015:

  • Approximately 48,960 Americans (24,120 women and 24,840 men) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
  • Roughly 40,560 Americans (19,850 women and 20,710 men) will die as a result of pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer makes up 3% of all cancer in the United States
  • 7% of all cancer deaths in the United States is attributed to pancreatic cancer
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