| Bowel Cancer Australia Ambassador
Sharon Bingle knows loss. She lost her father and husband to bowel cancer; her mother to breast cancer – all in the space of six years.
She also knows that improved community awareness of bowel cancer can make a huge difference in terms of prevention, earlier detection and better survival rates.
Which is why Sharon has agreed to become one of Bowel Cancer Australia's Ambassadors and help make a difference.
"My father had bowel cancer symptoms. He was bleeding for a while but thought it was just haemorrhoids. He was dead within nine weeks of his diagnosis at just 65 years of age. It's too young and it might have been survivable if he hadn't ignored it."
When her husband was also diagnosed with bowel cancer, Sharon was shattered. They'd been together since she was 19, raised a family together and worked their landscaping business together.
"I was mindful of Dad's experience and had encouraged Graham to have a complete check up at age 51 years. Unfortunately, even though he had no symptoms, his cancer had already spread to the liver. Extensive surgery and early chemotherapy bought him some time but only 18 months."
Sharon cared for Graham during that time and says the experience has given her the knowledge and motivation to help raise community awareness about the disease.
"Bowel cancer is a hideous disease but it is largely preventable and often treatable. We just have to keep getting those messages out there."
"Certainly I understand the importance of screening for prevention and early detection. My two children have lost a father and grandfather to this disease so they are likely to be at higher risk. I'm not going to let them ignore that although like most young people they think they are invincible."
Her high profile daughter Lara Bingle was Bowel Cancer Australia's inaugural Ambassador and Sharon has already appeared with her in advertising campaigns.
"I think I've got something to contribute in my own right. I'm in the target age group for screening and I've lived through the reality of bowel cancer in two of my closest family members."
"I know it's a cliché but life is so short. I feel very passionate about helping raise awareness of bowel cancer and funds for research."