What do most 38-year-old do for their birthdays. Mine was to do a fundraiser for Bowel Cancer Australia.

8 years ago, my cousin Karen was first diagnosed with bowel cancer at 38 years old. She fought a brave fight but sadly passed away 4 days after she turned 40.

In the lead up to Christmas, streets all around Australia light up their houses with dazzling displays to help spread Christmas cheer.

For the second year running Ashleigh and The Gables community are hosting a festive fundraiser lighting-up their estate to raise awareness and funds for Bowel Cancer Australia ‘Shining a Christmas Light on Bowel Cancer’.

“Bowel cancer is very important to my family and to me. Like so many other families in Australia, we have had to deal with the loss of family members due to bowel cancer.

In May of 2016, my uncle (also my godfather) passed away due to bowel cancer at the age of 68. My family was heartbroken to first hear the news, then to go through it all with him.

“4th December 2015 a call that changed our lives forever, the shaky voice of my sister and best friend on the other end with the heart-breaking news.

‘I have Stage 4 bowel cancer, it has spread to my lungs and liver, its terminal, I love you.’

"I completed my 8km river run on the 5th of June, 2022. I was definitely full of emotions on the day as this run meant so much to me.

I wanted to get across that finish line and do what I said I would do in support of bowel cancer patients and families, especially for my beautiful husband that had been diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer last year.

"In 2016, I had decided to grow my hair out , just to see how I would look and it was becoming trendy. I had always had the intention of cutting my hair off and donating it to make it into a wig.

After 6 years of growing my hair, it was finally time for it to be cut off.

In June 2021, we got close to hosting a morning tea at Tamara's (Tom) friend’s house to raise money in her honour for a cancer based charity. Unfortunately due to one of the many lockdowns in Victoria the event was cancelled about 3 days before it was due.

Many of her family and friends kindly donated and also bought raffle tickets for some great prizes that were on offer (also provided by a network of caring friends). 

We lost our colleague, Marcus Champion, to bowel cancer in 2018 at the age of 35. Marcus was a much loved PE teacher at Carnegie Primary School.

He brought the best out in everyone; his friends, his students, his personal training group, his colleagues, his wife, his two young daughters and pretty much anyone who had the privilege of spending time with him.

Jessica Kidd is a TV, radio and online journalist for ABC News in Sydney. Jessica has worked at the national broadcaster for 13 years, including as a NSW state political reporter and crime reporter. She has previously worked for the ABC's flagship radio current affairs programs; AM, PM and The World Today.