"She was diagnosed around Thanksgiving of 2008, but she really didn't have a chance because there really wasn't an effective treatment and there's no early diagnosis, early detection method. By the time she was diagnosed it had spread and it was pretty much all over."
Janet Walker talked to 13WMAZ about her mother, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2009.
"As one doctor told us, it's the bad guy of cancers and it really doesn't get enough attention but we learned a lot when my mother got sick," said Walker.
That was the same kind of cancer that took Patrick Swayze, who also died in 2009.
"Patrick is my angel. He sits on my shoulder and watches what I do and gets me through what I do," said Lisa Niemi-Swayze.
Widow, Lisa Niemi Swayze, talked about that loss during an End of Life Symposium at Macon State College Monday.
Walker says she's a fan Swayze and is inspired by his courageous journey. She read about it in Lisa Niemi-Swayze's book, "Worth Fighting For."
"I have followed the saga since Patrick Swayze was diagnosed and his eventual death and I read the first book that Mrs. Swayze wrote and I've kept up with them but to think that she's in Macon, Georgia, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to come and speak to her," said Walker.
"People write to me and share their stories, and it's amazing how similar our experiences are. Really incredible and when you go through something like that, particulary the grief and loss side, it's so helpful to talk to other people to know that you're not alone," said Swayze.
Mrs. Swayze also took time to sign autographs and talk about pancreatic cancer, a disease Walker agrees needs much more attention.
"There's just not a lot out there about pancreatic cancer, what it is and what you can do about it if you get it," said Walker.
But Mrs. Swayze said she's working to change that, traveling the world, sharing her husband's story and their journey together with dealing with the disease.
"If we all stand up together then we can still help the people who want to live as much as my husband did."
Mrs. Swayze says she serves as Chief Ambassador of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, which provides patient services, outreach, grants and research.
She also spends time lobbying in Washington for a Pancreatic Cancer Education and Research Act.
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