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Local contribution to search for cure

28 Feb 2019

Local contribution to search for cure Image

The recent death of respected local Damien Woodruff has prompted support for research into pancreatic cancer from Docklands Private Collection of Apartments.

Business principals Lyn and Peter Kelly have been long supporters of charity and have now swung their support behind Pancare.

Last August Lyn’s brother Len Reddoch also died from pancreatic cancer so the lethalness of the disease has really hit home.

Lyn explained that, unlike many other cancers, only 8.7 per cent of pancreatic cancer sufferers survive past five years. She said symptoms were hard to diagnose and, once a positive diagnosis was made, it was too late for all but a few.

“We just want to do all we can to get the survival rate up,” she said.

The Kellys have traditionally supported two charities through their business. Until recently, they supported the Alannah and Madeline Foundation as well as Motor Neurone Disease Australia (MND Australia).

Peter said they felt that the Alannah and Madeline Foundation was getting plenty of support from elsewhere, so they decided to fund Pancare instead (while still supporting MND Australia). With their friend and Docklander Julie Kehoe dying in 2007 from motor neurone disease, the Kelly’s have a personal connection with that disease as well.

One dollar from every room booking goes to the two charities – amounting to about $2500 per month.

Damien Woodruff’s widow Kerri said she was thrilled and overwhelmed by the Kellys’ decision to back Pancare.

Kerri has been instrumental in fundraising for pancreatic cancer research, having started an annual fundraising lunch after Damien was diagnosed more than four years ago.

Known as 4 Women for Pancare, the first lunch was attended by 25 people and raised about $6000. About 80 people attended the second lunch at Cargo in 2016 and raised $14,000. In 2017, the number was $42,000 and last year an attendance of 240 resulted in $64,000 for Pancare.

She said Damien’s aim was to last five years, which was currently only achieved by 7 per cent of sufferers. But, she said, the survival rates had improved recently, so there was cause for hope.

Damien’s relatively long survival was due to early diagnosis, despite symptoms being commonly associated with benign ailments such as itchy skin as well as stomach and back pain.

“Damien had a pain in the gut for about six months but thought it was just indigestion,” she said.

She said in Damien’s case, MRIs and CT scans were inconclusive and, unless specifically asked for, blood tests won’t find any trace of the disease.

The Woodruffs have been popular and well-known residents of NewQuay for about five years.

She said they had lived in many brilliant locations, but Docklands stood out as the best place to make valuable and lasting friendships.

As owners of 1995 Melbourne Cup winner Doriemus, they run a “punters club” with other locals, with the winnings being pooled to fund some fun social nights out.

Now that she’s on her own, she feels confident and safe living with the benefit of the physical security that apartment tower living brings.

Kerri said Damien moved most to tears when he bravely spoke at last year’s 4 Women for Pancare lunch, but had a smile for everyone.

“Onwards and upwards was his favourite saying,” she said.

For more information and a chance to donate, visit http://www.pancare.org.au

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