Diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 45, Rachael's bowel cancer journey started with a sore back.

After 10-12 weeks of physio and chiro, and religiously doing her exercises, Rachael's back wasn't getting better and a CT scan indicated a swollen S1 nerve.

Her doctor suggested a follow-up MRI be undertaken, and that's where the troubles began.

"My only sibling, my amazing sister Rachael passed away from bowel cancer on the 19th of August 2018. She was just 45.

A mother of two. An adored wife. A daughter, a sister and an inspirational high school teacher. She was fit, healthy, exercised often and took great care of herself.

In early 2016 she’d been suffering from a sore back. None of the regular treatments were helping so it was suggested that she get an MRI. That’s when her world fell apart.

They found lesions on her liver, spine, lungs and heart. Rachael endured two years of radio and chemo and was so graceful and resilient through all of it.

Unfortunately in August 2018 it all became too much and she left us, peacefully, in her home surrounded by her family.

BCA0254 Women Kick Ass News Banner Michelle Pearson Neale 2

When I started thinking about my birthday this year I was crippled with sadness. It would be my first birthday in 43 years without my one and only sibling, Rachael.

I needed to find a way to turn this heartbreaking negative into a positive. To honour my sister who always loved a celebration. So I decided to hold a fundraiser.

Rach loved raising funds to help anyone in need. I decided to raise funds for Bowel Cancer Australia and set my goal at $200. Thanks to my incredible family and friends, everyone who loved Rach and those who care for me; together we raised $1840.

Thank you so much. For loving Rach, for supporting me, for raising money to help others who are going through a difficult time. I don’t want to sound selfish but thanks to you I had a wonderful birthday.

No tears were shed because I was just so grateful and proud that we as a community could make a difference. Thank you so much. My heart is full and I’m eternally grateful" ~ Michelle