Bowel cancer doesn’t just affect those going through the disease, it also hits loved ones hard. This is Rose's story:

"It was 1999 and Beating Bowel Cancer didn’t even exist then so we had very little support. At the time I’d only known Tim for six months so this was a very new relationship. We’d just bought a new house and I remember when he was diagnosed looking out through the window and think...
ing, ‘well, will he ever do the garden here?’

Emotionally it was devastating because there was this fit, healthy man in his early 50s and we were embarking on our lives together and this great big wham came along and you really didn’t know how to cope with it. Plus I was working full time. My employers were not good at the time in giving me time off to look after him so it was a case of juggling all the balls, going to work, coming back and looking after Tim and then we had a few little set-backs. I think I’m quite a strong person but there were a few times when it all just got too much for me – and not having anyone with the same sort of experience at the other end of the phone to say yes it will get better.

And now because I have been through it I have been able to help others, and given them my advice. I think sometimes it’s worse though when you’re not going through it, when you’re not the patient because you can only look on from the sidelines. I just remember thinking ‘I’ve just got to get out of the house’ and I was lucky, I had some friends who would come and get me. Because it was such a slow process it was difficult to see the end of it."

Visit https://www.beatingbowelcancer.org/hidden-heartache for the full report as we tell the untold story of bowel cancer.

#HiddenHeartache

 

Brother and sister, Gemma and Daniel Pollock, are taking on the London Marathon for us in April in memory of their dad Darren, who died of bowel cancer in 2013.

Gemma, 21, said: “Dad ran the marathon in 2010 and was diagnosed with bowel cancer in December that year. I was just 16 at the time and Daniel was 13. He didn’t tell us he had cancer because he didn’t want it to affect our education.”

Gemma and Daniel, who were sitting their A levels and GCSE’s at the time, only found out he had had bowel cancer following his death. Their mum told them that he had had symptoms for almost a year before visiting the doctor.

Gemma said “When I found out, my first thought was if he had realised what the symptoms meant and had gone to his GP sooner, would the outcome have been different?

“Dad was very fit, didn’t drink or smoke and was only 46 when diagnosed. I realised that it could affect anyone and as a family we want to do what we can to raise awareness of the disease and its symptoms.

“When Daniel turned 18 last year we decided to follow in dad’s footsteps and sign up for the marathon to raise awareness and funds for Beating Bowel Cancer, as they do so much to raise awareness and to support all those affected by the disease.

“This is the first time we’ve run a marathon. I only started running 3 years ago and have never attempted this distance but I’m determined to get round. Daniel has done more running in the past but this is also his first marathon.”

To donate to Gemma and Daniel’s fundraising effort, please visit: justgiving.com/Gemma-and-Daniel-Pollock1.

 
Stephanie Brand, 28, is taking on the London Marathon next month in memory of her mum, Avril, who died of bowel cancer almost three years ago.

Stephanie said: “Everything happened very quickly when she became ill. She was fine at Christmas 2012 but fell ill in the January. By the time she was diagnosed in the March it was too late for any treatment and she died the following month aged just 54.

...
“After her death, I looked more into the disease and realised she’s had a number of the typical symptoms but they weren’t picked up at the time. I feel strongly that if it had been one of the better known cancers it would have been recognised earlier and the outcome might have been different.”

Since signing up for the marathon Stephanie has discovered that several of her friends have also lost loved ones to bowel cancer, which has highlighted to her even more how common the disease is. This year’s marathon coincides with the anniversary of Avril’s death so taking part in the event means a lot to Stephanie.

She said “This is the first time I’ve run a marathon. I only started running a few years ago and have never attempted this distance, but I’m determined to get round.”

If you’d like to donate to Stephanie’s fundraising effort, please visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StephBrand
Andrew Millward, 55, signed up for our London Marathon team just a year after being diagnosed with the disease in October 2014.

Following successful surgery to remove the tumour on New Year’s Eve, Andrew did not have to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy and after four months convalescence, he returned to work part-time in May 2015.

Andrew said: “I was extremely fortunate to be diagnosed earl...
y, as it makes the cancer so much easier to treat successfully. My treatment on the NHS was brilliant and I can’t thank my cancer team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske in Truro enough.

“However so many people are not as fortunate, so I’m really keen to raise awareness of the disease and the importance of early diagnosis. I also want to raise funds for Beating Bowel Cancer, as they do so much to raise awareness of the disease and to support those affected by it.

“Due to the nature of my cancer, I was left with a permanent colostomy and although there have been challenges, I would like to let people know it is still possible to take part in sports and remain active.”

Andrew was a keen runner who had already run 5 marathons before his diagnosis, including London in 2010. He started running again in February last year – just two months after surgery and tells us his marathon training is going well!

If you’d like to support Andrew’s fundraising effort, please visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/andy-millward

Andrew is pictured here at our recent London Marathon training day, alongside team members Sophie and Helen.

Our annual London Patient Day takes place on 16th April and we'd love to see you there!

With loads of interesting speakers and a chance to meet and talk to others who know what you're going through, it really is a great day....

To find out more and to book your place, please visit: www.beatingbowelcancer.org/patient-day-london-2016

We will be holding another Patient Day in Manchester in November and will keep you posted on the date.

Mike Walsh was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in autumn 2011. He is pictured here with his wife Sue, walking in the Peak District 3 months after his ileostomy reversal.

Mike said "I had radiotherapy and chemotherapy for 6 weeks with an excellent response, and then an anterior resection with an ileostomy in May 2012. I got an infection in the wound, which took a few weeks to clear up. I t...
hen had 4.5 months’ adjuvant chemotherapy, followed by stoma reversal surgery in April 2013. I expected it to be a smaller operation than the previous one and it was, but still big enough.

"I was glad to get rid of the stoma bag lifestyle. After a few days, my system started working again, but I took far too many trips to the toilet for several weeks. It took a couple of months or more for my bowel habits to get back to something like normal."

Nearly three years on from the reversal, Mike is active, and also helps out on our online forum as a moderator, supporting others through their experiences. He said "Life is pretty normal; I can go out for 4 or 5 hour bike rides or play the whole evening in our band and not worry about it.”

If you will be having a stoma reversal in the future, you can download our factsheet at http://bit.ly/1ToW5u0

and if you'd like to chat to others on our forum, you can sign up at www.beatingbowelcancer.org/forum
Love the outdoors and fancy taking on a challenge to help us beat bowel cancer? Then grab your walking boots for one of our UK treks!

Maureen Embrey took part in "TrekFest – The Peaks" along with her daughter Rachael, son Matt and daughter in law Beth, following the loss of their family member, Sally. Together they raised an amazing £1,284.00!

Maureen said “We all enjoyed our TrekFest experien...
ce, it was great to share the day with so many lovely people all raising money for different causes. I think we were over half way when this picture was taken and we were feeling very happy with ourselves after a steep climb!"

Visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org/uk-treks for more details of some of the treks available - such as The Thames Path Challenge and London to Brighton. If you have any questions, or don't see a trek you fancy on our website, do contact the team on events@beatingbowelcancer.org

Happy hiking!!

We publish a wide range of information covering all aspects of bowel cancer, including treatment, surgery, dietary advice and much more.

They are packed full of information and patient stories and will help answer lots of questions you may have.

Our booklets are free and available in hard copy or you can download them from our website: https://www.beatingbowelcancer.org/patient-booklets-factsheets-0

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