Advocates fighting pancreatic cancer call on Congress for more research dollars

Published: Jun. 18, 2018 at 5:43 PM EDT

An Omaha family is in Washington, DC right now to fight one of the most deadly types of cancer.

The Gilbrides - a year and a half into this battle - say they want to ensure no one else has to face pancreatic cancer. Our Washington Reporter Alana Austin meets up with them about their fight.

Father of seven Rick Gilbride is already defying the odds in his battle against pancreatic cancer. Once diagnosed, most patients don’t survive a year. Now he’s coming to Capitol Hill with his family to fight for more federally-funded research.

“The five-year survival rate is only nine percent, which is terrifying and we’re a year and a half in and we think, are we going to have another year? And of course we hope so," said Shannon Gilbride, Rick's wife.

Rick - joined by his wife, Shannon, and two of their kids - Maxximus and Khloe - are working with the Pancreatic Cancer Action network on Capitol Hill.

Their concern is that this type of cancer is hard to detect early and comes with few treatment options. The journey for the Gilbrides began in late 2016 when the family learned Rick had stage four pancreatic cancer. For a few months, it seemed like heartburn and some stomach pain but it turned out to be much more serious.

For many, symptoms can often seem minor. Nearly 45,000 people are expected to die of pancreatic cancer this year alone - the Gilbrides and others want to stop this trend.

“It’s amazing what we can do together," said Rick.

"It takes us being here in Washington, DC to go to the Senators, go to the Congressmen and make those things happen.”

Tuesday, the Gilbrides plan to visit Nebraska lawmakers in DC, Senators Ben Sasse, Deb Fischer and Congressmen Don Bacon and Jeff Fortenberry. They also encourage others to reach out to their representatives in Washington about this issue.

The Gilbrides say they’re so grateful for the opportunity to meet others going through this and for the support from their community back home.

If you or someone you know is looking for help, please visit the website or you can call 1 (877) 573-9971 for support.