The Inaugural World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition Meeting

WPCCIt has been an amazingly inspirational couple of days at the very first World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition (WPCC) meeting in Orlando, USA. Over 54 delegates from 24 countries attended and I had the pleasure of meeting some people who I had only previously known through social media or conference call and email exchanges.

There were many more who I was meeting for the very first time – representatives from organisations big and small but, regardless of size, were there for one common purpose: to change the landscape for pancreatic cancer on a global level.

The WPCC has been in development for just under a year under the stewardship of the Steering Committee comprising of Chair, Julie Fleshman, CEO and President of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in the USA, myself as co-Vice Chair alongside Alex Ford and Barbara Kenner from the Barbara Kenner Family Research Fund (USA). In this short time we have managed to found the WPCC, set its constitution, develop the branding, develop and launch the website http://www.worldpancreaticcancercoalition.org as well as bring together the very first WPCC meeting. Julie Fleshman had assigned some of her team to work on the logistics of this event – and thanks to her and her team, everything worked like clockwork!

One of the key components of the meeting was to have a facilitated brainstorm session to carve out the future priorities and plans for WPCC. This was a very energetic session and there are many key initiatives both for the short and for the longer term that we have taken on board and will publicise once the priorities have been finalised.

As Chair of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, I along with Ruth Fitzgibbons from our creative agency, The Richards Group, presented to WPCC the plans for the Day in 2016 (17th November 2016).

Historically, the World Pancreatic Cancer Day (WPCD) was an initiative of its own and it is from that has provided the springboard for the WPCC. Now, WPCD is one of the key initiatives of the WPCC.

More will be revealed about WPCD to the wider world later, but suffice it to say, the WPCC members were very engaged and excited by the concept we presented and we hope that WPCD on 17th November will be the best EVER!

The WPCC Steering group outlined the governance structure of the Coalition and encouraged members to apply for places on both the main WPCC and WPCD steering committees.

What went down extremely well were the presentations by Coalition members about their activities in their countries. There were many inspiring presentations about initiatives members have developed and run to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer. A lot of learning points and some novel ideas were presented.

We also had presentations on social media strategy and PR relations skills. This was especially beneficial to smaller organisations in the meeting who do not as yet maximise social media on a daily basis.

What we all found very interesting were the scientific presentations by Dr Anirban Maitra and Prof Margaret Tempero (she’s one of PCA’s Scientific Advisory Committee Members).
Both presented good overviews of the research landscape in presentations that weren’t too technical in nature and were easily understood by all.

The key thing I took away from this inaugural WPCC meeting is that there are a lot of people out there across the globe doing amazing work in the pancreatic cancer field. And, while that work may be diverse and different, what we all have in common is a fierce drive and passion to effect change for pancreatic cancer worldwide.

Now we have come together, we will be a collective force to be reckoned with. So, watch this space and if you want to help us, please get behind World Pancreatic Cancer Day on 17th November – it’s going to be a good one!

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