My name is Kris and I’m a married father of two beautiful girls aged 2 and 4.

In November 2021 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer at the age of 33. I was the fittest and healthiest I had ever been, and I was two weeks out from my first boxing fight when I was diagnosed.

About 6 months prior I had noticed blood after going to the toilet and didn’t think much of it. I was on the way home from work one day listening to Hugo’s story on a podcast and thought I should get a check-up. My GP ran some tests and put the blood down to haemorrhoids, I went away not too worried.

Over the coming months I noticed the blood was now in majority of my bowel movements and went back to the GP and was once again told I was too young for it to be anything sinister and given some cream.

It was at the wind up for the local footy club I really noticed something was wrong so I went back and had to ask for further follow up and got told they would refer me for a colonoscopy.

A few months later and the symptoms getting worse I was finally given a colonoscopy and when I woke up, I heard the words ‘Kris I’m sorry mate but I’m almost certain you have bowel cancer. We have rung your wife to come in’.

My wife was of on maternity leave with our 3-month-old daughter and 2-year-old daughter and on seeing them I just broke down. I was very fortunate that I got booked straight in for scans and sent to a great surgeon and a week later they confirmed it was Stage 3 bowel cancer.

I was lucky I got to spend Xmas with my family before starting treatment. At the start of January 2022 I started 6 weeks of intense radiation and chemotherapy, then more chemo before surgery to have the cancer removed and a temporary stoma. I had the stoma for 5 months whilst I finished my chemotherapy.

During this time I was so very lucky to have the support of my amazing wife Ciara, my friends and family, my workplace and community. I even managed to play a few games of footy whilst receiving chemotherapy and one game with my stoma.

I had my stoma reversed in October and whilst it’s been a long journey I’m now in remission and starting to get back to my normal life. I was very lucky that Hugo decided to share his story as it gave me the kick to follow up and saved my life.

My one piece of advice would be to not be embarrassed about what is happening with your body and if it’s not normal go to a GP and be your own advocate.
Also having a stoma will only stop you from doing things if you let it.

You can’t have courage if you’re not afraid.