My story is not that different to many others. In 2014 there were changes in how my body was working and although not drastic they were persistent.
My GP did some tests and decided that further investigation was needed. Fast forward a few weeks and I was under the management of a team of specialists consulting on the best strategy to treat what the tests uncovered.
There were lots of big words and it took me a while to realise I had colorectal or bowel cancer. I was in haze but luckily the doctors were able to guide me through the different options. I was lucky that detection was early but that did not mean it was going to be simple or easy and the treatment plan was expected to take 12 months.
It started with six weeks of chemo and radiation treatment to shrink the tumour. This was followed by major surgery, more chemo, another operation and more chemo spread over one year. Each step had its challenges and its side effects. The physical challenges were many but at times the psychological ones were harder to cope with.
After 4 years of good test results I acknowledge every day that I am incredibly lucky but things are not the same and never will be. I also give thanks every day for the phenomenal treatment I received at all stages from professional and compassionate health practitioners.
Life is good and the lasting effects do not curb too much my ability to do things I could do in the past. That does not mean I do not wish that it never happened to me or wish that no-one else has to face bowel cancer.
The statistic is that one in eleven men will face this in their lifetime. It is for this reason that I want to raise awareness of the issue and to raise some money to help research - to develop better treatments and to hopefully beat it.
I have had a beard for many years and will shave it and start again to grow one. That look will be as much a surprise to me as to the many people who have never seen me clean shaven.
Please give so that money can be raised for this cause. Knowing people care really does make a difference.