Listen to your body

November 11, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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Jessica Abelsohn is a woman on a mission. She wants to encourage more people to listen to what their bodies are telling them.

 Isabel Kirsh, Jessica Abelsohn, Sara Kahn, Rochelle Goulburn, Ruth Nissim

Isabel Kirsh, Jessica Abelsohn, Sara Kahn, Rochelle Goulburn, Ruth Nissim


It had not occurred to Jessica’s mother, Rochelle Goulburn, that heartburn and indigestion were indicators of something far more serious. When diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Rochelle fought hard against the disease for 16 months before dying in August this year.

Until high profile people such as Patrick Swayze, Steve Jobs, Ian Ross and Peter Harvey were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, awareness surrounding the disease was minimal.

Yet, more than 130 Australians die on average each week from pancreatic, liver, biliary and foregut cancer.

Jessica and her sister Sara Kahn and their aunts Isabel Kirsh and Ruth Nissim were galvanised into action by Rochelle’s death.

“This is not about raising money; it’s about raising awareness. We encourage people to listen to their bodies and give a voice to a silent killer”. Jessica told J-Wire.

“It has been nice to see the community getting behind us on this and it is our hope that we may be helping others in the same situation that we were in” she said.

Survival rates for pancreatic cancer have not improved in more than 40 years and two-thirds of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year of diagnosis.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day will be held on Thursday 13 November and purple is its emblem.

Rochelle’s family ask Australians to pop on some purple, snap a picture and share it on social media, using the hashtag #purpleourworld to raise awareness of this killer disease.