Personal stories

Vassie Catalano

My Dad Nicholas passed away in 2013 after a 9-month battle with this insidious disease and this year will be my 6 th walk. After Dad died, I felt compelled to do something to help in this space as we saw the worst of this disease first hand. After Googling a few pancreatic foundations, the PanKind stood out to me as my foundation of choice. Knowing that well over 90% of all the funds raised go directly straight back into research, rather than being spent on other expenses, I felt comfortable knowing that our efforts and contribution were genuine going to make a difference and will help people in need.

I have been volunteering for the Foundation for this period of time, alongside Lisa Ricketts, who lost her Mum roughly the same time I lost my Dad, therefore we share a common bond and understanding in having lost a parent. We also share a passion of helping to change the outcomes for others. Lisa and I work closely together year on year in coordinating the Melbourne Walk, and through this experience we have developed a great friendship, which is something we will both treasure forever.

The PYFD walk is special as it is a way for us to give back, contribute and make a difference in an attempt for better outcomes for people who are struck by this disease. The highlight for me is having my family and friends supporting us on the day and walking around the gorgeous scenic Yarra River (rain, hail or shine) to show our unison on finding a cure via fundraising and awareness for this disease.

Pancreatic cancer is a horrible cancer that urgently needs greater attention. There has been little change in the progression of this disease in the last 40 years, which really shocks me in this day and age. Together, we can change the future and the destiny for many people. By coming along to the walk, and showing your support, you are helping our mission of raising awareness of this disease and helping us get the right research for it. At the walks, every step you make, will make a difference for people now and in the future.

Vassie Catalano, Melbourne


Nigel Toomer

I’m 49, married to my saviour wife Rosemary and have a 12 year old son Judd that have been by my side since I was diagnosed in 2016. My wife Rosemary had noticed I was loosing weight quite rapidly previous to diagnosis. I just put it down to working really hard being a Handyman and the warm weather we were having.

Telling my wife and family was very hard but I kept a firm strong stance and said I would fight with everything I had and I have!! Keeping a very positive outlook and trusting in my specialists I think was key to my survival so far. I also suffer from survivors guilt.

I never take any day for granted as tomorrow isn’t promised.

My goal is to partake in some kind of patient liaison as I have been fortunate so far with my outcome, this is my way of giving back to the pancreatic cancer community. People should get involved with the PanKind Put Your Foot Down awareness walk for many reasons, but mostly to raise awareness for this hideous disease, because like most people diagnosis comes far too late. pancreatic cancer has no face until it’s either yours or somebody that you know and love.

Nigel Toomer, Perth


Susie Sumner

“I’m walking in the Put Your Foot Down Sydney walk because it’s for a cause that directly impacts me, and I also understand the importance that research makes to finding a cure.

I’ve been overwhelmed with support from family and friends and will be walking with people from all walks of my life, including my wonderful son Cadel, husband Mike and daughter Shelby.”

“I think support is key to any family that is living with Pancreatic Cancer, and the walk is a great way to bring friends, family and community together for a fun event. Fighting for your life is really hard, but you can do it with a smile on your face.”

Susie Sumner, Sydney

(Sadly, Susie has since passed away from pancreatic cancer but her family wanted to share her story)


Scott Rimington

I lost my beautiful wife of 35 years Annie Cridland, 3 years ago to very aggressive PC her friends, her bookies, our friends, our Brisbane daughter Emily, her partner Dave and daughter Evie plus her well decorated dog Nell.

The highlight of the walks for me is meeting the researchers such as Professor John Hooper from the Translational Research Unit – TRI Brisbane and hear them talk realistically about their research.

Also – there is something very special about sharing with other families treading the same path we have, though in truth for me the most important thing is to encourage people to donate to pancreatic cancer research as it is only funds that is going to keep the research momentum up in this seemingly intractable cancer area.

Lots more women are diagnosed with breast cancer but through investment in research and improving identification and treatments the survival rates have improved remarkably. This is my hope for pancreatic cancer.

Scott Rimington, Brisbane