“It has been 27 years since the world lost a precious human being – an example of humility, elegance, both interior and exterior, and of kindness. This valuable human being was also my mother: She was, and still is, Audrey Hepburn. We sadly lost her to appendix cancer/pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). Since that time treatment options have developed and cytoreductive surgery has become the general treatment of choice. They tried it on her but the disease came back with a vengeance. Today, this is followed by hyperthermic intraoperative peritoneal chemotherapy, known as HIPEC. We were offered it, or a very early iteration of it and declined. It seemed almost medieval at the time… too much. Nor was she willing to do anything just to hang on to life. She didn’t view herself as any better than the next person.
Often for newly diagnosed patients these procedures can sound very daunting, as it did to us, and to speak with others ‘who have been there, done that’ can be very reassuring. Maybe had she tried it, she might have lived a few more years or even still be enjoying her rose garden at the ripe age of 93.
She believed that ‘As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others’ and this is the ethos of Pseudomyxoma Survivor, who works to bring patients and caregivers together to offer each other support and guidance. They also help raise awareness and fund research into this dreadful disease. This is why I volunteer to be a Patron at Pseudomyxoma Survivor, a small charity with a big heart. Life is precious … as was she. Let’s grow on the shoulders of the experiences of others and use what our invaluable sciences have to offer.”
- Sean Hepburn Ferrer
Patron, Pseudomyxoma Survivor
I have always preferred remembering people on their birthday rather than on the day they died; a celebration of the life they had and not a day of sadness for their passing. That said, it is always a poignant time of year when we mention Audrey Hepburn’s birthday – the 4th of May. This year she would have been 93 if pseudomyxoma peritonei had not taken her from her family.
This screenshot of a recent zoom call I had with Sean, Audrey’s son, and with fellow trustee Angela makes me grateful that the people I work with at Pseudomyxoma Survivor are professional, knowledgeable and supportive – I have learnt so much from both of them – thank you both. Happy birthday also Angela, sharing a birthday with Audrey, and remembering birthdays of those that are now no longer with us (sadly too many to mention), including 6th October and 11th March.
Chair, Pseudomyxoma Survivor
Other volunteering stories
We were so happy to receive this box of knitted items from Pseudomyxoma Survivor friend, Margaret. Knitted by Margaret and her friend Marion, they have donated them to Pseudomyxoma Survivor so that we can offer them to you.
I’m achieving something here. I matter. I am making a difference. Feeling a useful part of the volunteer team perhaps pays back some of the support I’ve received.
In December, Susan and Angela have been asked to present at the EuroPMP International Workshop on pseudomyxoma peritonei. It is a privilege to be asked to present to this network of experts from many fields, including surgeons, pathologists, oncologists, radiologists, molecular biologists, bioinformaticians and allied health care professionals of which Angela is a participant.