Kerry Harvey, the star of Pancreatic Cancer Action's 'I Wish I Had Breast Cancer' campaign has passed away, aged 24, from pancreatic cancer.
Ali Stunt, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action said in a statement: "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."
Kerry was featured in the charity's ad campaign which garnered a lot of controversy as it featured pancreatic cancer patients wishing they had breast or testicular cancer. Critics believed that cancers should not be compared to one another, and as a result, she found herself at the centre of a backlash on Twitter as well as one death threat.
After the campaign aired, Kerry remained strong in the face of criticism. She said: "I know I upset a lot of people by saying what I did, but it’s true. If I had breast cancer rather than pancreatic cancer, it is almost certain I wouldn’t now be dying. Instead I’ve been told I’ve only got four to five months to live."
Her words are extremely poignant in the aftermath of her death. Her legacy won't be in vain however.
One of the last things Kerry said on record was: "Hopefully the campaign will lead to more money being spent on research into pancreatic cancer. It won’t help me, but I hope it will mean others will have a better chance than I have."
In her final tribute to Kerry, Ali added: "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."
To find out more about Pancreatic Cancer Action, visit the website.