updated 09/14/2010 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/14/2010 AT 11:45 AM ET
Tuesday marks one year since Patrick Swayze’s death following a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer. For his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, it’s an anniversary that brings both sorrow and hope.
“In some ways I look at the anniversary and I think, ‘It’s either going to knock me down or it’s going to make me stronger,” Niemi says. “And I know I’m stronger now. The fact that I’ve had some good days definitely gives me hope that I can have more.”
As a new spokeswoman for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Niemi is launching an awareness campaign on this anniversary of Swayze’s death. “Be a Hero in the Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer: Know it. Fight it. End it” will feature videos and personal messages from Niemi.