‘Star Trek’ Actors Team Up for Cancer Research, Michelle Obama Meets a Sarcoma Survivor and More

From “Star Trek” actors supporting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to Michelle Obama meeting with a sarcoma survivor and an update on Jane Fonda’s cancer, here’s what’s happening in the cancer space this week.

“Star Trek” actors are teaming up with a nonprofit to educate others about pancreatic cancer.

Jonathan Frakes, who is best known for playing Commander William Riker on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” is teaming up with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) to spread awareness about the disease.

Frakes has a personal connection to the disease. His brother, Daniel, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died of the disease in 1997, and another “Star Trek” actor, Kitty Swink, was diagnosed 18 years ago. Together, Frakes and Swink created the PanCAN PurpleStride team, raising tens of thousands of dollars for the nonprofit.

“The whole objective of raising awareness and raising money is to hopefully find some type of marker for early detection for pancreatic cancer, which doesn’t seem to exist in the standard blood test,” Frakes said in an interview with “Forbes.” “When Daniel died, for instance, there was a 4% survival rate and last year after our fundraiser, our doctors report there’s an 11% survival rate, which still sucks but it’s an improvement.”

Michelle Obama met with a cancer survivor who found inspiration in her memoir.

When Irene Dimatulac was going through treatment for osteosarcoma in her left leg, she reached out to Michelle Obama, telling the former first lady that her memoir, “Becoming,” was a source of inspiration.

"My cancer journey so far has been harrowing, with so much pain, fear of the world outside and with the pressures to be strong in this hard time," Dimatulac wrote in her letter to Obama. "On days where chemotherapy made it hard to even focus on watching TV, I could get lost in listening to you narrate your book."

Dimatulac had the opportunity to meet Obama on “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna”

"You know, if you can see (the light) in yourself, you can spread it to somebody else and you will never know whose life it will change and whose life you're changing in the process of sharing your story,” Obama said.

Jane Fonda gave an update on her cancer.

Actress Jane Fonda, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in September, said that she is halfway through chemotherapy, which she found to be “easier than a lot of other treatments.”

Fonda, who is 84 years old, said that she is not losing her hair and is not feeling nauseated — two common side effects with cancer treatment.

“The week when I get the chemo is hard, but then after that, I feel good. I feel very strong,” she said.

The host of BBC’s “Escape to the Country” revealed his metastatic lung cancer diagnosis.

Jonnie Irwin, the host of the popular British show “Escape to the Country” recently revealed that he has metastatic lung cancer that has spread to his brain. The 48-year-old told “Hello!” magazine that he does not know how long he has left, and that he encourages others who hear his story to “make the most of every day.”

Irwin first received his diagnosis in August 2020 after he experienced blurred vision, which led to a series of tests and, ultimately, a lung cancer diagnosis. At that point, doctors told him that he had about six months to live.

The television host started chemotherapy and did not reveal his cancer diagnosis publically, which made him feel like he had “a dirty secret” and a “monkey on his back.”

"I hope that by shaking that monkey off I might inspire people who are living with life-limiting prospects to make the most of every day, to help them see that you can live a positive life, even though you are dying," Irwin said.

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