After Patrick Swayze passed away from pancreatic cancer complications, his wife Lisa Niemi Swayze resolved to raise awareness of the disease.
Niemi Swayze has dedicated her life to not just preserving her late husband’s memory but also educating others about the signs of pancreatic cancer since his passing in 2009.
“I still care and I know how tough Patrick’s and my journey was with this,” she said. “Cancer may have taken him, but it didn’t beat him. And I’m continuing his fight for him.”
Swayze received a cancer diagnosis in 2007, and he passed away in less than two years.
The actor’s earliest symptoms, according to Niemi Swayze, who remarried in 2014, were yellow eyes and stomach issues.
“He came to me and he said, ‘Do my eyes look yellow?’” she explained.
Niemi Swayze suggested they go the next day despite his want to put off going to the doctor because “yellow eyes just doesn’t sound normal.”
“We went to the doctor and the moment he looked at him and saw what was going on, he sent us immediately for a CT scan.”
“Then we had a grueling 24 hours to wait while we got the reports back. It was a really tough time. Your life just turns on a dime,” she recalled.
Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer following an endoscopic treatment.
Niemi Swayze recalled that most doctors typically prepared patients for death because pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult types of cancer to treat. But the couple steadfastly refused to accept their fate.
“We fought it for as long as his body could. It was a tough journey, but it was worth it. When you love someone and they’re on this Earth with you, every moment is precious. Every bit of fight we did was worth it for that extra time.”
Patrick Swayze passed away on September 14, 2009, 20 months after receiving his cancer diagnosis.
Since then, Niemi Swayze has persisted in her efforts to raise awareness of the devastating yet rare condition.
Since 2010, she has worked with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and lobbied on Capitol Hill for increased research funding.
“Just because Patrick passed on … didn’t mean that fight was over, and I was carrying that on for him,” she said.
What Lisa Niemi Swayze is doing to bring awareness to this horrible disease is very much needed. It’s so important to know the first signs of pancreatic cancer, especially since it’s such a difficult disease to treat.
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