It’s all about people

23 Jul
The 02 Arena

The O2 Arena

I’ve definitely lost the plot this time.  I’m climbing up onto the roof of the 02 arena today.  I mean really – I’m 46 years old and didn’t dream of doing this kind of stuff even when I was 26.  I’m not sure what worries me most – the fact that I get horrifically dizzy looking up (weird) or the dreaded boiler suit (wish I’d started my diet earlier – I know outrageous vanity!).

But how could I not take part, when awesome charity supporter Clare Madden is taking on this challenge to raise funds and awareness because her Mum was recently diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer and our lovely patron Michael Pattemore is also prepared to take on the challenge in memory of his wife, Lynda Bellingham.  Bless them both.

It’s almost exactly six years ago that I became CEO of Bowel Cancer UK and I’m as passionate and committed now to saving lives from bowel cancer as I was then.  It’s been a tumultuous six years – full of amazing highs and some rotten lows but I feel so proud of my colleagues at Bowel Cancer UK because as a team we are doing some brilliant work and we know we are making positive change happen.  But I’m not happy yet.  I want us to do more – I want us to Stop bowel cancer for good.

I started taking on fundraising challenges of my own for two reasons:

  1. I am genuinely moved and humbled by the things people, who are often closely affected by bowel cancer, do to support Bowel Cancer UK and so I feel I must also push myself, go out of my comfort zone and in solidarity join them in raising funds so the charity can have even more impact. So over the next few months I am taking on 3 challenges, climbing the 02 Dome today, a 20k London Bridges Walk in September and another trek from the 26th September – apparently tougher than the Great Wall challenge – this time in Brazil.
  1. Because I am tired of feeling impotent and unable to do enough to stop people dying of this treatable disease. After all since I joined Bowel Cancer UK, seven years ago, around 112,000 people have died because of bowel cancer.  It’s so large a number it’s not quite imaginable but we must…

charlotte kitleyRosi pictueKatie Scarbroughlaura 61512391_10152214610928377_175815830_nMelanieChrisKate-GrossTony Levy

…Because it is all about people including all these dear friends who we have so tragically lost.

Whilst we know that bowel cancer can be cured and early diagnosis is the key, what it more difficult is detecting people early.  Symptoms can be vague, the current screening test too blunt (which is why we must move to Faecal Immunochemical Testing in all 4 UK nations ASAP) and patient and clinical delays lead to poorer outcomes.

We also don’t know enough about who is most at risk – we know about some broad groups – people with known genetic conditions such as HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome or Familial adenomatous polyposis, people with a strong family history or who have had an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for over ten years but we don’t know exactly who amongst those groups will develop bowel cancer.

Many people at high risk present young hence why we’ve been talking about them a lot as part of our Never Too Young campaign but it cross cuts age.  If we could get better at identifying people with increased familial risk for example or who with an IBD might develop bowel cancer then we could ensure they are effectively screened so it is prevented or diagnosed early.  It’s research linked to solving big issues like these, that I am fundraising for.  We hope to launch our first grants round in 2016 themed around issues related to Never Too Young. solidarity

However, we need to raise funds to make this happen, so I’m fundraising again.  It would be simply awesome if you could sponsor me or take on a challenge yourself, or hold a coffee morning or just ask your friends to donate.  If we join together and take action, I genuinely believe, in time, we will Stop Bowel Cancer.

And for that hope, today, I will happily don the dreaded boiler suit and harnesses and conquer that dome!

To donate please go to: www.justgiving.com/deborahalsina4 or Text STOP68 £5 / £10 to 70070

stop bowel cancer banner

2 Responses to “It’s all about people”

  1. Lesley Shannon July 23, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    Good luck to you, Claire and Michael at the 02 Arena today. For me personally losing our beautiful daughter Laura @paperdollybird on twitter is heartbreaking, I cry every single day. I know Laura should be here with me today and I should not be visiting her grave because doctors didn’t listen to her, doctors told her she was “too young to have bowel cancer or anything serious wrong with you”
    more has to be done to raise awareness, to educate gp’s as this is not an older persons disease. Only via twitter on social media since I joined to keep up with Laura including beautiful Laura I know personally via twitter the total of friends lost is 50! this is 50 lives lost when they all should be here with their families. I have lost not only my daughter but my best friend in the World. I have lost the chance to become a Grandparent to see Laura blossom and grow into the wonderful Mother she so wanted to be. Laura was diagnosed stage IV terminal colon cancer age 30 she died age 31 on Mother’s Day.

    Please do all you can to stop this happening to other young people.
    it has to be stopped.

    Lesley x

    • deborahalsina July 24, 2015 at 11:01 am #

      Thank you Lesley. Be re-assured, I won’t forget Laura – she might be out of sight but she’s definitely not out of mind (or heart). x

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