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Face of cancer campaign dies

A patient who was the face of a controversial cancer campaign has died.

Kerry Harvey who fronted Pancreatic Cancer Action's "I wish I had..." adverts died on Saturday after a ten-month battle with the disease, the charity announced.

The campaign was launched to highlight the extremely low survival rates of those diagnosed with the disease.

Some 3% of people survive pancreatic cancer for five years after diagnosis and the average patient lives four to six months after they find out they have the disease, a spokeswoman said.

The ad campaign, which featured real patients including Ms Harvey, drew criticism after featuring the words: "I wish I had breast cancer" and "I wish I had testicular cancer" - comparing the survival rates of pancreatic patients compared to those who are diagnosed with testicular or breast cancer.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has received more than 100 complaints about the ad, a spokeswoman said.

ASA officials are still deciding whether or not to investigate, she added.

Ms Harvey, from Chichester, West Sussex, was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour in April 2013.

Her husband Matthew Biggin told ITV News Central: "Myself and her family are devastated by the loss, but it is also important to us that Kerry's legacy lives on.

"She did so much to raise awareness for this terrible illness and has brought global attention to a cancer that receives just 1% of national funding."

Pancreatic Cancer Action described t he 24-year-old who worked as a hospital administrator at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester, as a "beautiful and inspiring" woman.

Ali Stunt, charity chief executive, said: " We were deeply saddened to hear the news that the beautiful and inspiring Kerry Harvey passed away, aged 24, on the morning of Saturday February 22.

" She was a brave and courageous young woman who touched so many hearts with her determination to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer despite being very ill herself.

"Since her diagnosis in April 2013, she devoted a significant amount of her own time trying to raise the profile of the disease that she, like many other pancreatic cancer patients, had not heard of before her diagnosis.

" Kerry campaigned with selfless vigour and, despite facing criticism, wanted to help others by encouraging earlier diagnosis and attract more funds for research.

"She said herself, 'Some people have to shout louder and I'm on my rooftop with a megaphone'.

"We are so grateful to her contribution to our awareness campaign.

"Her strength and fortitude, we and other pancreatic cancer sufferers, their families and friends are very grateful for.

"Our thoughts are now with her husband Matt and all of her family and friends at this difficult time.

"We will never forget Kerry who will be dearly missed, and remain in the hearts and thoughts of all of us at Pancreatic Cancer Action."

Pancreatic Cancer Action said the 3% five year survival rate had not improved in 40 years.

In 2010, 8,455 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in the same year 7,921 died as a result of the disease, a spokeswoman said.

She said that while pancreatic cancer was the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the UK, it only received 1% of overall research funding.


From Belfast Telegraph