Jenny J., 34, from Chicago, IL was diagnosed with pancreatitis at a young age. She had to go to more than one physician to get the correct diagnosis. Her pancreatitis affected every facet of her life but she has not let it destroy her. She has learned to become her own advocate, seek support, and share her experience with others to grow the pancreatitis community. 
This disease impacted my body mind and spirit. I was in excruciating pain, I was unable to gain weight, people didn’t understand me, and the worst part was some people didn’t even believe me. I had poor school attendance because I needed to take so many sick days, and I even endured bullying from other children because I was different. As would be expected, my school performance was impacted negatively, as well. I felt misunderstood, isolated, and lonely. My parents tried to help me manage most of my pain at home, and I learned that certain foods would make my symptoms worse. When I was unable to endure the pain, I would go into the hospital. During my sophomore year of high school, I had my first ERCP where they determined the cause of my chronic pancreatitis. I was diagnosed with pancreas divisum; a congenital anomaly in the anatomy of the ducts in the pancreas. In this anomaly, the ventral and dorsal duct of the pancreas remains divided rather than forming as one duct. Many people with this congenital condition go without symptoms, while others have severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. I was one of the people who experienced the latter. I felt relief at finally having a diagnosis, that explained and validated my experience
Throughout my life, there are a number of things that have helped to deal with this debilitating disease. I lean on my support system, I am okay with not being okay sometimes, and I take each day one minute at a time. It has helped to reach out to other chronic pancreatitis patients around the world; it’s comforting to know others like myself are going through the same struggle, and we are a community going through this together. The best advice I can give to another person dealing with this disease, or to a caregiver helping a loved one, is the importance of being one’s own medical advocate. Stay strong, replenish yourself mentally and spiritually, surround yourself with laughter and positivity as much as possible, because this disease can drain you at every level. Suffering from this disease has not destroyed me, in fact, it has made me a stronger person, mother, wife, friend, co-worker, sister, daughter, and any other title in between. To read more, please CLICK HERE.
Many people have no idea what the pancreas does or that it exists until they or a loved one experience pancreas disease. The Animated Pancreas Patient is a resource that is intended for patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. It houses expert advice about pancreatic diseases, which helps patients and caregivers discuss key issues with healthcare providers and make critical decisions related to management and treatment. Easy-to-understand animations with audio narration, expert video explanations, patient interviews, slide shows, and many downloads on major pancreatic disease topics are available to you. You are invited to test your knowledge. How well do you know your pancreas?
Education and advocacy are part of the National Pancreas Foundation's (NPF) mission. Please see the list of events that are coming up throughout the year. We hope you can join us! For a complete list, please see our Events Page.
(Due to COVID-19 precautions, in-person events are being rescheduled; however, the NPF calls on its friends and supporters to explore virtual activities they can undertake to help raise funds for our mission. )

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(Due to COVID-19 precautions, in-person support groups are put on hold. Please click on the Chapter links for updates)

If you would like to establish a support group in your city, please contact

Amid COVID-19, the 2020 Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Weekend now only consists of the marathon. The NPF has decided to transfer it's Charity Partnership for 2020 to 2021 to ensure that everyone will be able to run together (in-person). Team Pancreas is now a virtual team! You can sign up for the marathon ($45) or the 10K ($33). Once you register and sign up, please notify National Program Director, Sokphal Tun at We will add your picture to the 2020 Team Pancreas site. Registrants who raise at least $250 will get a Team Pancreas shirt and pre-race goodie bag, along with MCM swag.
Please visit the MCM page for more information on their virtual events.  

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By Stephanie Parke, Bethany's mother.

Bethany Parke is a 12-year-old girl from Leicester, MA. She is an active member of her local dance academy, attends Leicester Middle School, and enjoys participating in many clubs at her school. To truly appreciate Bethany’s story now, you must know what she has endured. Bethany was diagnosed with pancreatitis at the age of three and endured years of painful flare-ups and frustrating dietary restrictions. She lived with daily chronic pain and was constantly in and out of the hospital due to severe attacks. Pain management brought only marginal relief, and a more drastic course of action was required. Bethany’s entire family traveled to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, where she received a cutting-edge procedure called the TPIAT transplant. The pancreas was removed, and the islet cells were harvested and transplanted into the liver. The gall bladder, spleen, and part of her duodenum were removed as well. Bethany remained in Minnesota for the entire summer recuperating and adjusting to her new body. 
As a result of the successful procedure, Bethany’s liver began producing insulin for her just six months post-surgery, and she is considered type 3-C diabetic. Through regularly scheduled visits with a network of dedicated specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital, Bethany is thriving and enjoying the opportunities afforded of being relatively pain-free. She still has the responsibility of checking her blood sugars and maintaining a proper diet but is widely considered a textbook patient. Thanks to the pioneering medical professionals at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Masonic Children’s Hospital who do not shy away from trying new procedures, Bethany is living a highly improved quality of life.
India Ny'Ala Freeman is a talented and loving 16-year-old who resides in Newark, New Jersey. 
When she is not attending school at Newark School of the Arts, she enjoys skateboarding, art, poetry, and spending time with family.  Her drawing is in honor of her great grandfather, who battled pancreatic cancer.
Attie Jamison is a Sophomore at Muskogee High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She was diagnosed with pancreatitis at the age of four and spent time in the hospital each year as she was growing up. Eventually, the diseased pancreas began to affect her health in ways that caused her quality of life to suffer. As a dancer, she was extremely active and disciplined, but her body was beginning to let her down. After missing auditions and dress rehearsals, the frustration and pain were becoming more than she could handle. In December of 2018, Ms. Jamison underwent surgery at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center to remove her pancreas. Recovering from a TPIAT and adapting to a new normal has been challenging and rewarding. Since her TPIAT, she has received an NPF Courage award and has been an advocate for pancreatitis awareness. She is a member of the Varsity Dance Team and participates in many AP classes. She loves to dance ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop, and she is a master "TikTok" performer.
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