A FAMILY has raised more than £70,000 for research into cancers with a two per cent survival rate, in honour of their dad.
Peter Dowen underwent major surgery to remove an egg-sized tumour weeks after discovering he had rare acinar cell pancreatic cancer (ACC), in September 2011.
Only 10 to 25 people in the country are diagnosed with the condition each year, and so little is known about it that there is no known treatment.
Peter, 64, of Durham City, said it is because of that his children, Daniel, 33, Ruth, 31, and James, 27, decided to raise money for research into the disease.
“It’s so rare that when it was being treated the doctors were kind of doing it blind,” he said.
“They used chemotherapy which they thought was best, but they didn’t know if it was going to work.
“The money raised will hopefully help to find out more about it so people with it can receive better treatment.”
The siblings founded Pete’s Pancreatic Project with the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, in 2012 after Peter went into remission.
“They have been amazing,” said Peter, whose wife Maureen, 63, has been also been involved in the fund-raising. They have been involved all the way through – from supporting me when I was ill, to raising the money.”
The former architect was one month into his retirement when he was diagnosed in September 2011.
“It was totally out of the blue,” said Peter, who was diagnosed after suffering abdominal pain.
“I went to the GP and was said to have type one diabetes, but my daughter is a doctor and thought that was wrong, so she referred me to the Freeman where I had a scan and the tumour was found. It was a huge shock but everyone clubbed together and they have been absolutely brilliant.
“The charity gave everyone something to focus on, and we intend to keep it going.”
Peter and nine friends completed the Coast 2 Coast last week and raised more than £4,000 towards the research, which includes collecting tumours from around the country for testing.
“It was the first thing I have been able to take part in, because I’ve always been too poorly,” he said.
“It took about a month to organise, but it was brilliant.
“I was lucky it was diagnosed early so it could be treated, and since going into remission in spring 2012, there have been no signs of it returning.
“I just hope I’m one of the lucky ones who survives.”