Actually, I am Nic’s constituent but there are many others who aren’t who feel this way, including Surgeon Derek O’Reilly. Let me explain…..
Without doubt, the death of my husband changed me – watching Kevin live life to the full, with a positive attitude despite knowing his death was imminent, was sometimes beyond comprehension but it reinforced my thinking that we should always recognise the things in life that we are grateful for. If a 48 year old man with only a few months to live can think like that then I owe it to him to continue my life with gratitude.
That said, I never thought that ‘Having a fantastic MP’ would be up there on my gratitude list – but it is – it’s very high up there. In responding to my request for assistance, Nic Dakin MP for Scunthorpe since 2010, has also helped so many who are not his constituents.
Prior to Kev’s death, I didn’t really pay much attention to local politics. I was busy getting on with my pretty uneventful life but, nonetheless, a life that thankfully I didn’t need to seek assistance from anyone for. Then life changed, I discovered how devastating pancreatic cancer is. Even worse, I discovered that the shockingly low survival rates hadn’t changed in over 40 years. This filled me with outrage. How could the powers that be have ignored it and how could my husband not have even a slightly better chance of surviving pancreatic cancer than his mum had 40 years earlier.
My outrage led me to other people who also understood the devastation a pancreatic cancer diagnosis can bring – together, we decided to see if we could make a little noise and create a bit of awareness.
We started an epetion and if we were going to pull it off, we needed help. Enter Nic Dakin – I turned up at one of Nic’s Open Meetings back in 2012. I’d never done anything like this before and I was nervous – this is how the voice in my mind was going…….
“what if he thinks it’s a stupid idea”
“what if he thinks it’s too huge a task – we have to find 100k signatures”
“what if it isn’t local enough for him” – there were many people at the meeting that evening wanting action on local issues
“what if he just isn’t interested” – most people aren’t if they’ve not been affected – assuming it will never happen to them.
Ignoring my mind’s ‘Negative Nancy’ I nervously stood up and told Nic my plight. We’d only got a few hundred signatures at this point & we needed to find 100k and whilst pancreatic cancer can affect anyone, I was very aware I wasn’t asking for help for a cause that was specifically local. I was taken aback at how positive Nic’s response was – pretty much the next day he was sharing our petition on his website and after a year of hard work, when we found the 100k signatures necessary for a Debate, Nic led an incredibly well supported 3 hour cross party Debate which helped greatly to raise the profile both within and outside of Westminster.
This was just the start – since then Nic has worked tirelessly to get much needed awareness & funding. Nic is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and, along with Pancreatic Cancer UK, Pancreatic Cancer Action, Pancreatic Cancer Research, other fab MPs and many, many dedicated supporters, the APPG has done some incredible work.
Only very recently Nic asked Theresa May a question in PMQs asking her to pledge to give more funding for research and just a few weeks ago he ran the London Marathon, and three Pancreatic Cancer charities will be included in the charities to benefit from the sponsorship he raised.
So this is just a snapshot of the work Nic has done on Pancreatic Cancer but it’s why so many of us in the pancreatic cancer community, including people who aren’t Nic’s constituents, want Nic Dakin to retain his seat. Surgeon Derek O’Reilly is one of those people. In this video, Derek emphasises the importance of the work Nic has done with the other parties involved. Derek appreciates Nic’s work so much that last week he travelled to Scunthorpe to support Nic’s campaign and even went door knocking with him.
Nic has been an MP that really listens to his constituents. I have chosen to highlight pancreatic cancer but there are many more constituents like me who would tell you the same story of Nic’s dedication and support. Other important matters that Nic has given his attention to include but are not limited to:
Support for Military Veterans
Local Arts & Music
Local Charities – two fantastic local causes also benefitted from Nic running the London Marathon this year
Fair pension rights for women
How Nic has worked with the pancreatic cancer community, recognising the importance of this work, is a great example of how an MP and constituents can work together to push for change – change which will impact not only his constituents but many more beyond his constituency. I am really hoping that Nic will retain his seat on 8 June and that we can continue our important work and I know many others are too.