A generous gift to LHSC will improve research and care for patients with pancreatic cancer.

It’s was 2016 when Rick Baker says he was told he had six to twelve months to live.

“I got a diagnosis with stage four pancreas cancer.”

His cancer was so progressed that surgery wasn’t an option, but Baker and his family decided to do what not many are able to do, they decided to travel the world for alternative treatments not offered here in London, Ont.

“I have had quite a gamut of treatments," Baker says. "It extends over a full page if you list them all, and I have been doing quite well. Some of the treatments are very targeted and they aren’t chemotherapy and I’ve been on them for well over two years.”

Baker was also eventually able to have surgery to remove some of the tumour.

He knows he’s lucky to be alive, but also knows not everyone is able to travel for treatments. That’s why he and his family wanted to help local patients.

The Baker family is gifting $1.5 million to the London Health Sciences Centre to help start up the Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer at the hospital.

“We see that the money will go to build our research infrastructure dedicated to pancreatic cancer,” says Dr. Stephen Welch, a medical oncologist.

Welch says pancreatic cancer is a cancer that usually diagnosed in its later stage.

“It is one of the more fatal cancers, even though it’s the 12th most common cancer it’s the fourth leading cause of cancer death.”

That’s what the Bakers want to change by funding research and bringing hope to others.

The goal now is to raise a total of $5 million for the centre to move forward with full translational research.