Bowel Cancer Australia - Ambassador
He's best known for helping people improve their homes and now John Eussen has decided it's time to help people improve their health by becoming a Bowel Cancer Australia Ambassador.
The long-standing and highly respected figure in the design and interiors industry will be known to many as presenter of Grand Designs Live Australia as well as his various media roles.
John has been a regular guest on Radio 2UE, the Body and Soul Program on 106.5FM, Channel Ten's Studio 10 and Sky News Australia. He has written design articles for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and is a regular columnist for several industry trade magazines.
John has a very strong family history of bowel cancer as his grandfather and both his grandfather's brothers lost their lives to this cancer. He was only 14 when his mother was diagnosed with the disease. His brother also had bowel cancer.
"Mum was 42 when she was diagnosed but went on to live until the age of 77. In the meantime, my brother was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 48 and has gone on to make a full recovery," said John.
"Bowel cancer has been a very big part of my life so I have no difficulties talking about this common cancer. It has however taken me a few years to decide exactly how I can best improve public awareness of bowel cancer," said John.
As Bowel Cancer Australia's newest Ambassador, John is clear on where he'd like to focus his efforts.
"There are now more than 15,000 Australians diagnosed with bowel cancer each year so that's a lot of people, like me, who have a family history of this disease."
"Our risk is higher than the everyday person but knowing that means we can act on it. I certainly have. For me, it meant colonoscopies began in my 30s and will continue throughout my life."
"A family history doesn't mean you'll definitely develop bowel cancer but why would you take the risk? That's a message I'm keen to get out to others."
John is also a strong advocate of ensuring people have the right information to make informed choices.
"People need to know what their risks are, they need to understand the processes involved whether it's a colonoscopy or major surgery, and ask questions."
"I'm amazed at how many people think you're awake for a colonoscopy!"
"Talk to people, listen to different scenarios but then ensure you have the facts. The Bowel Cancer Australia website is a really comprehensive resource and then there's nurses if you want to discuss things further," said John.
Julien Wiggins, chief executive, Bowel Cancer Australia said it was great to have someone with John's passion on board as an Ambassador.
"John has a life long connection to bowel cancer. He's knows the impact it has on the entire family and he's now working with us to try and minimise that for other families."