Mindy Kaling Shares Advice Her Mother Gave Her Before She Passed Away

In honor of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, Kaling filmed a PSA about her mother.

It’s been eight years since Mindy Kaling lost her mother, Swati Chokalingam, to pancreatic cancer, yet the words of advice her mother gave to her shortly before her passing still ring loud and clear in Kaling’s ear. In honor of November 19th’s World Pancreatic Cancer Day, Kaling shared the advice her mother gave her in hopes that she can help others going through similar battles or those who need a reminder to always stick up for yourself and for what you believe.

“When I was growing up, my mom was always there for me. We shared everything together,” Kaling says in a PSA for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN). “So when I found out that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it was one of the toughest moments of my life. We did everything we could for her, but we just hadn’t caught it in time.”

Before she died, I asked her to give me as much advice as she could, Kaling continued. The most important thing she told me was to always be my own best friend.

Kaling says that in honor of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, she stands with “my mom in spirit,” to fight back against the deadly diagnosis “by advocating and supporting research that advances early detection and treatments for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.”

Kaling, who is now a mother of two, has been open about her loss and how she manages the pain, especially on days like Mother’s Day—a holiday she used to dread in the years following her mother’s death.

“But this year,” Kaling wrote on Instagram in 2019, “I feel lucky to have my daughter [Katherine], because telling her stories about her grandmother is a great distraction.” Though she noted she “will always have a hole in my heart,” she much prefers smiling at the memories she has rather than crying for her loss.

Kaling says in her PSA that advocating for and supporting research going toward pancreatic cancer is so incredibly important, “because when we do that,” she says, “we give those fighting today a chance at a life that my mom didn’t have,” she adds. “Something that she would be so incredibly proud of.”

You can learn more about how to fight back against pancreatic cancer and support those working through their diagnosis over on the PANCAN website.

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