It was a packed house at Eastbanks in Shepparton for the 2019 Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch, proudly supporting Bowel Cancer Australia and the charity’s Bowel Care Nurse Program.

Increasing access to quality patient care is a priority for Bowel Cancer Australia.

Thanks to an ongoing relationship between Bowel Cancer Australia, Goulburn Valley (GV) Health, the Shepparton Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch committee and the Georgopolous family, support continues to grow for the first dedicated Bowel Care Nurse in the Hume region.

First appointed in 2017, dedicated Bowel Care Nurse Katie Emanuelli has been helping to increase bowel cancer awareness in the Shepparton community and improve bowel cancer outcomes by enabling residents to take a more active role in their bowel care treatment.

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About 700 ‘blokes’ attended the event to help raise awareness of men’s health and much needed funds for bowel and prostate cancer.

More than $105 000 was raised from the auction alone. According to event organiser Shane O'Sullivan, it’s a record for money raised through the auction since the event's inception 11 years ago.

"It was a fantastic and successful event again, and just shows the generosity inside the room continues to astonish us,” said Mr O'Sullivan.

"Our waiting list for tables 12 months out from next year's event is continuing to grow," he added.

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Well-known Shepparton businessman Graham "Roydo" Royden shared his personal story at the lunch, talking about what he dubbed to be the “the biggest battle of his life”.

Diagnosed with bowel cancer four years prior, Graham had a simple message: "Take notice of your body."

Other guest speakers included former Essendon champion James Hird, media personality Michael Roberts, comedian Anthony 'Lehmo' Lehmann and Master of Ceremonies Des Dowling.

Welcoming attendees to the event, Shepparton Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch chairman Shane O’Sullivan was pleased to announce the committee’s commitment to fund the nurse roles for a further three years.

With at least $220 000 needing to be raised to continue funding the two bowel and prostate cancer nurses at Goulburn Valley Health, this is a substantial commitment and testament to the important role the nurses play in the community.

 As a Bowel Care Nurse, Katie provides a single point of contact for bowel cancer patients, providing a continuity of care from the point of diagnosis.

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“Part of my role as a Bowel Care Nurse is to make sure patients and their families understand their options and receive the critical support they need – from that initial point of diagnosis all the way through their treatment pathway," Katie said.

With the support of Bowel Cancer Australia’s Bowel Care Nurse team, Katie helps regional patients take full advantage of Bowel Cancer Australia’s support network and extensive information resources covering everything from bowel cancer prevention to palliative care, including nutritional advice, recipe books, a free Nurse Helpline and a national Peer-to-Peer Network.

Bowel Cancer Australia is extremely thankful for the continued support of the Shepparton Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch and Georgopolous family, helping to save lives and improve the health and wellbeing of people living with bowel cancer.

If you were inspired by the Shepparton Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch fundraiser and would like to raise much needed funds for Bowel Cancer Australia in your local community get in touch with us on 02 9923 8269 or through our webform.

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