National award nomination for Wigan nurse who dyes her hair purple to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer

A pancreas specialist nurse from Wigan is in the running for national honours.
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Vicki Stevenson-Hornby works for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and has been crowned the regional winner of the Nursing and Midwifery category in the NHS Parliamentary Awards.

She will now go on to compete for the national prize.

Vicki is passionate about raising awareness of pancreatic cancer and the need for early diagnosis.

Vicki Stevenson-Hornby is passionate about raising awareness of pancreatic cancerVicki Stevenson-Hornby is passionate about raising awareness of pancreatic cancer
Vicki Stevenson-Hornby is passionate about raising awareness of pancreatic cancer
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Working at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, she has been instrumental in supporting the development of the trust’s diagnostic pathway, helping reduce the time patients wait between referral and confirmed diagnosis.

Her work was put forward for the NHS Parliamentary Awards by local MPs Sir Jake Berry, Nigel Evans, Antony Higginbotham and Andrew Stephenson.

She will now attend a glittering awards ceremony in London on Wednesday July 5 – the NHS’s 75th birthday – when the winners of the awards will be crowned.

Vicki said: “I am truly delighted to be nominated for this award. I absolutely love my job and it is something which I consider to be a privilege.

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“Pancreatic cancer is a ruthless disease which has seen little improvement in survival for many years.

“Awareness of the disease and of the early symptoms is vital and being shortlisted for these awards gives a huge platform to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer which is the real winner here.”

Vicki is no stranger to this work – nor indeed awards. While a Macmillan HPB clinical nurse specialist for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, she won the Cancer Nursing category at the Nursing Times awards for her nurse-led accelerated jaundice pathway project.

Chief Nurse at ELHT Peter Murphy said: “We are incredibly proud that Vicki has been shortlisted for such a prestigious national award for her tireless work supporting those affected by pancreatic cancer.

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“The work she has spearheaded in our Pancreas Rapid Diagnostic Service has seen the time our patients wait between referral and confirmed diagnosis fall by nearly half.

“Not only has she had an integral role in improving the diagnostic pathway and enhancing patient care for those affected by pancreatic cancer, she has also gone above and beyond to raise awareness for this disease – including but not limited to dying her hair purple every November for pancreatic cancer awareness month.

“Congratulations, Vicki, on winning the regional nomination and best of luck at the national awards next month.”

Vicki added: “My vision would be to have billboards plastered with the symptoms in every city and town, so everyone sees them, but until we reach that level of exposure November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and I urge everyone to play their part.“I always dye my hair purple for awareness month and when I’m not organising a cake sale or raffle I take on challenging and painstaking activities like Born Survivor – and trust me, I’m no athlete!

"I have the support of my amazing family too, who, like me, understand how important raising awareness is. My wonderful husband has run half-marathons, my super son organised a ‘wear purple day’ during his A levels and my lovely daughter arranged a sponsored silence when she was in Year 4!

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"Even if you just pull on a pair of purple tights or make some purple-coloured cupcakes for your colleagues, any tiny thing will help raise awareness.

"And who knows, it may just save yours or a loved one’s life.”

If Vicki has inspired you to find out more, visit