As a Survivor and Caregiver Network volunteer, Chris Saenz often talks to families who are caregiving for a loved one facing pancreatic cancer.
“My dad had pancreatic cancer and passed away after a 28-month fight,” said Saenz, who began volunteering in 2014. “This organization helped us so much with information and advice. I wanted to give back and to help people who might be trying to learn about the disease and support their loved one.”
“One time, I remember talking to one daughter who was trying to help her father with an issue he had related to diet. It was so rewarding to help her know what things to ask the dietitian. I told her what worked for my dad, and she was able to take some really good questions with her to the appointment,” Saenz said. “She sounded so defeated when we started talking, but I could hear the hope increase in her voice when I shared some of the things that had helped my dad.”
Saenz said volunteering has helped him cultivate a strong sense of community.
“It really helps to volunteer because you begin to realize there are others struggling down the path you have already walked, and that your words of encouragement and even just your listening can help them! Talking with other caregivers going through a similar journey helped me know I was not alone.”
Support for the pancreatic cancer patient is critical to improve quality of life and overall well-being. Having a support system of caregivers, family, friends, healthcare professionals and a PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager is important to address and manage the needs of the patient.
Learn more about the Survivor and Caregiver Network and other ways the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network can help you.