Virginia 'Gigi' Manchin honored for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month

Gigi Manchin (Courtesy: Glenville State University)

GLENVILLE, W.Va. (WBOY) — Glenville State University honored its late first lady Virginia “Gigi” Manchin Wednesday afternoon to mark the last day of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month.

Manchin died in July after a hard-fought battle with this rare form of cancer. Her family spoke at the event about the devastating effects, with her twin sister, Victoria Harman, and daughter, Tara Manchin, speaking to the crowd about the need for more awareness, research and a commitment to finding a cure.

“If you don’t continue to be an advocate and have the finances and all your legislators and everyone backing this, then what will it be?” Tara, who has become a Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Advocate, said. “It will stay stagnant; it will stay still. You’ve got to have people who are advocates and people who are putting in the effort and making people aware of this. Whether it’s through financial, whether it’s research, treatment, doctors, whoever, we need everyone to be a part of it.”

WV Pancreatic Cancer Action Network President Anette Fetty-Santilli also spoke to the crowd, giving statistics and explaining how difficult it is to diagnose the deadly disease.

“It’s stuck in there behind several other organs so it’s very hard to diagnose and right now there is no early screening for it,” Fetty-Santilli said. “The only thing is a CT scan and you know, obviously, doctors and insurance companies are reluctant to do that, so usually by the time it’s diagnosed, it’s already spread to another organ.”

Glenville State University President Mark Manchin, Ph.D. had been married to Virginia for 50 years before pancreatic cancer took her life.

Click here to learn more about the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, and click here to assess your risk of potentially developing the disease.

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