A New Year Beckons

31 Dec

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New Years Eve for me is somehow full of both a touch of sorrow at the reminder of how quickly time passes and full of hope for the fresh beginning the New Year offers.  It’s also a time of reflection and when I look back at 2017, it’s not the endless meetings I’ve attended, places I’ve visited, awards I’ve won or reports I’ve read, but people that come to mind  and some extraordinary acts of generosity and inspirational selflessness.

Jennifer WarrenPeople like Jennifer Warren who died on the 6th December aged just 34.  Her brother contacted me after her death to let me know that ‘She left express instructions that she was happy for Bowel Cancer UK to use her story for the purpose of publicizing the charity’s aims and in particular for the purpose of raising awareness among the young.  She also requested that Bowel Cancer UK should derive some benefit from her funeral donations and hoped in particular that this might be able to be put towards campaigns related to the young, such as #Never2Young.’

Jennifer, like so many other young bowel cancer patients, experienced a delayed diagnosis and so when she was eventually diagnosed it was already at stage 4. She had only just got married and was looking forward to starting a family.

Her blog www.bodyassindex.com all too clearly documents the delight that was her and the awfulness that was her treatment.

Another woman aged 49, who wants to remain anonymous currently, contacted me in October to tell me that she hadn’t been given long to live and to apologise that she wouldn’t be able to help Bowel Cancer UK in the way she had wanted.  She had planned to become an awareness volunteer and to share her story to help ensure others do not have to endure all she is.   Instead she pledged a £5,000 legacy to the charity on her death, which she had been informed would be in early 2018, to make up for her lack of volunteering support.

33 year old father of three, Sam Gould’s reaction to his stage 4 diagnosis in April was to make a film to help raise awareness of the disease.  In those short final months of his life, Sam could not do enough to support Bowel Cancer UK using all his campaigning skill and zeal to publicise and raise funds for our Never Too Young campaign.  His family and friends continue to support us which means so much to us all.  Sam Gould

It is these three remarkable people, and many others, I think about when I reflect on 2017.  Their ability to consider and care about other people at the darkest moments of their own lives is I think inspirational and extraordinarily moving.

Of course New Year’s Eve also makes you look forward to new beginnings and this one feels particularly significant for me.  On 01.01.2018 Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer will be formally merged as one charity and I’m excited for the possibility that creates.

Both charities achieve a great deal separately but we firmly believe that together we can achieve more.  Together we are determined to save lives, improve the quality of life and provide support to everyone affected by bowel cancer.   We will achieve this through an ambitious programme of research, support services, education and campaigns.

I know 2018 will bring its fair share of challenges and frustrations for our new charity but with another 41,000 people currently unaware that 2018 will be defined for them by a bowel cancer diagnosis, the stakes are high.

For them and for all those who have placed their trust and belief in us, we will not fail.  Of course we can’t #STOPbowelcancer alone – we need people to be actively with us – could you make that your unbreakable New Year’s resolution?  Mine is clear, I am going to give this my all.   I’m going to breathe through the frustrations, calmly problem solve my way through the challenges and keep my sights strategically fixed on improving outcomes, so that one day we can look forward to a day when no one dies of bowel cancer.   I’m ready 2018.

Happy New Year, may it be full of hope, health and happiness.

The Star of Hope

 

For more information about bowel cancer visit www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk or www.beatingbowelcancer.org

To speak to a nurse call: 020 8973 0011

Or visit our Online Forum

 

 

 

One Response to “A New Year Beckons”

  1. Lesley Shannon. December 31, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

    I am excited about the joint venture of Bowel Cancer UK & Beating Bowel Cancer becoming one and working together at long last. Lets make 2018 a year to remember by doing all we can to raise awareness about bowel cancer and try to stop this happening to other young people. we are lost without Laura @paperdollybird but I know she would have wanted me to do what I am doing in trying to raise awareness about early detection and that younger people can and do get bowel cancer. I speak out about Laura’s story everywhere and anywhere I can and in 2017 was invited to many places and told that telling Laura’s story made a difference. I will continue to do all I can in 2018 and look forward to training with you and help in any way I can. Lesley Shannon in memory of our beautiful daughter Laura died 30/3/13 age 31

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