My aunt had the biggest heart, the most generous and genuine person you could ever come across.
My world was flipped upside down when she lost her battle to Bowel Cancer, less than three weeks after turning 44. She spent her birthday and last days in the hospital in palliative care with her nearest and dearest around her.
No words could articulate how this progressive disease had adversely affected our lives. I looked around and realised the obvious – that time doesn't stop for anybody and thought of all the things that I could, would and should have done to save my aunt, or at least prolong her life until she could see her two girls grow up to become young adults and her teenage boy mature into a man.
I quickly learned of how treatable and preventable bowel cancer was, if detected early. And how easily abdominal pain could be overlooked or misdiagnosed. My aunt was turned away by her General Practitioner after giving birth to her second daughter. If only she had undertaken a colonoscopy to surgically remove the polyps before they developed into cancerous tumours, things would have taken a different turn.
When I came across Decembeard, I thought it would be a great opportunity to raise awareness of this curable disease through early detection and in turn, save precious lives. I encourage families to talk about stool movements, abnormalities and tests. I hope that no other families would have to go through the heartache that my family and I did, and through much needed research, one day Bowel Cancer will be a thing of the past.