LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Lisa Niemi lost her husband, beloved movie actor Patrick Swayze, to cancer, but she has not lost her desire to fight back against the deadly disease.

Niemi testified in Congress on February 16, 2011 to lobby for more money for research.

As Niemi told CBS 2’s Pat Harvey recently in an emotional, touching sit down interview, she admits the fight is tough, but one she is not shying away from.

She also wears purple a lot. To bring more awareness to pancreatic cancer.

Says Niemi, “It is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, and one of the most underfunded. Severely underfunded…it just blows your mind. And that has to change.”

We link here to two organizations dear to Niemi’s heart.

1. http://www.pancan.org

2. http://www.knowitfightitendit.org

Comments (21)
  1. Audrey Hendricks-Fox says:

    My Mother SURVIVED pancreatic Cancer–but—there are unseen and unknown problems for survivors relating to treatments–someone needs to understand–and get behind to help–as my Mothers caregiver and advocate–I would love to discuss this growing problem with Ms Niemi–if there is any way at all—

  2. Terri Lynn Capozzo says:

    God bless Lisa for her work! As my husband was battling pancreatic cancer at the same time Patrick, Lisa’s story is extra-special. May her message bring encouragement to those who need it, and may she challenge the medical community to find the cure.

  3. Tamara Hicks-Syron says:

    God Bless you, Lisa. I miss my brother (born the same year as Patrick, but we lost him in 1999) every day. We have to beat this disease.

  4. Jennifer Blum says:

    I’m do thankfull we finally have a strong voice to speak up for this horrible cancer. My sister passed away 1 1/2 years ago from it & my best friend is currently surviving it. I pray a cure is found.

  5. Jackie Lenth says:

    I am 45 yrs old and I have pancreatic cancer. You have to be your own advocate and find new procedures. We found Nanoknife which uses IRE (irreversable electroporesis) and kills the cells. Unfortunately, mine is large so they also have to do surgery and remove the body and tail of the pancreas along with my spleen. My husband and I traveled to MD, NY & KY to find a physician who would operate on me and found one in KY where I’ll be having surgery Dec. 1st, 2010. The Dr. told me if I would’ve came to him 6 months ago, he would’ve told me to go home and continue with chemo and radiation, but now, he can hopefully get rid of that nasty disease in me. I have to be aggresive at my young age and neither my oncologist, radiation oncologist or surgeons have ever heard of this new procedure introduced in Dec. 2009. Trust me when I tell you I will be a HUGE supporter of this procedure when I am cancer free and will be shouting it from the rooftops! Wish me luck!!!

    1. toni seddo says:

      Best of Luck Jackie…May God be with u every step of the way!! God Bless!

    2. Lynn- Audrey Young- Roberts says:

      Jackie, how did the Nanoknife go with Dr. Martin? My husband plans to go to Louisville near the end of the year after he has several rounds of chemo first.

  6. Candy Zander says:

    Prayers for you Jackie! I lost my grandmother in 1992 at 73 and my mother in 2002 at 54 to this disease! I will be turning 42 on the day of your procedure! I will be thinking and praying! I am so afraid I will get it too!! Hugs!

  7. Margo Cowan says:

    Only 2% of funding goes to pancreatic cancer with a 95% death rate I. 5 years. This is an elephant sitting in the middle of the medical world’s bedroom. As breast cancer, AIDS, and other devistating diseases have proven, money does matter. This cancer needs research and that requires money. Yes, I have a loved one fighting for her life right now, but despite that personal note, I find these statistics, detection and treatment options unacceptable as an RN with over 30 years experience. This is medical neglect! I just ran the Rock N Roll half marathon in LA for Team Hope, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s running team for change. The team raised 47 000 dollars but this is only a drop in the bucket of what is needed. Watch closely, this disease strikes close to everyone’s home. Support those attempting to change the odds. Thank you

  8. Angel Ramirez says:

    goodluck jackie..



  9. Lisa Israel says:

    My husband of 23 years died of pancreatic cancer when he was only 59 years old. God bless you for your hard work.

    1. Beth Sefluth says:

      My husband of 28 yrs died at 59 also 3 yrs ago. We were dumbstruck and this is a first for me. I miss him every day. He was my best friend but also my caregiver as I have multiple sclerosis. Lisa Niemi, God Bless you for having the courage to become a spokeswoman for this horrific diseae. Also, prayers to all who are affected. especially Lisa Israel.

  10. tina says:

    My mom died at 48 due to this awful cancer. Lisa, I followed patrick’s battle and my heart ached for the both of you. I am so thankful you had 22 months to spend with him and prepare for the end. I had 4 months before my mom passed. I was 18 at the time and have missed my mom for the past 15 years. I wish we would have had the money and opportunity to explore different options to extend her life, even by a few months. Keep up the good work, Lisa!

  11. Linda Parker says:

    My husband of almost 40 years died in April of pancreatic cancer after only 5 months. He survived a near fatal car accident, bladder cancer and a surgical error when his bowel was pierced in error. He could not survive this. I miss him every minute of every day. I am a member of PanCan OC and will work and raise money to find a cure that is so needed. LIsa Niemi is bringing awareness thru her celebrity and dedication – God bless you for your work, Lisa and you are right – no one tells you about grief and how to live each day when pancreatic cancer takes your husband away….Keep up the fight ! I am with you

  12. broken says:

    My mom got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and its killing us, not knowing how long she will live. May GOD BLESS all of you, sorry for the lives you have lost

  13. Diane Ihlefeld-Greenstein says:

    I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer on Dec. 4, 2009. She was 64. She was diagnosed and died in just under 3 months. She designed bracelets to help raise awareness, I still sell them and donate the proceeds to Hospice here in RI. We have sold 450 to date! Raising awarenss anyway you can is SO NEEDED!! Lisa I sent you one of my mom’s SWARM bracelets, did you ever get it??? You can find Barbara’s SWARM on facebook. We would love to have you be part of her SWARM!!

  14. Joanne Cole says:

    My husband was diagnosed with STAGE T3 N1 pancreatic cancer while serving a 36 month sentence in Federal Prison for a tax issue. He was allowed to come home pending appeal for surgery (Whipple) and is now in the middle of extremely aggressive chemo and radiation. The problem is that his appeal was shot down, and a federal judge is sending him back to prison, interrupting his regimen. The government proclaimed in court “it’s not a dire situation as they are painting”. EXCUSE ME??? A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is not dire? He has a port, a feeding tube, a severely compromised immune system, and he must go back to a dirty prison to receive what the judge referred to as “routine Chemo”. And for a tax conviction!!! I’m outraged that people in such high positions with so much power are ignorant to this disease!! I need to get involved in advocacy.

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