"My work, Western Autistic School, organized a Red Apple Day Fundraiser at my request as a way of helping, after my son was very suddenly diagnosed with Stage 4 Bowel cancer on April 29th of this year.
Jay had symptoms last August and went to a local doctor and also emergency at a local hospital after bleeding. Back then, he was told by a doctor that he was too young for bowel cancer, and he should change his diet and have more fibre. His visit to the emergency dept was a similar visit but he was told that it wasn’t urgent, but they would put him on a waiting list for a colonoscopy.
That colonoscopy never made it past the wait list. In April this year, he presented at a doctors after experience fatigue for quite some time, as well as gastro IBS like symptoms and considerable weight loss.
A blood test revealed he needed an immediate blood transfusion so that’s when he rang me to take him to a hospital and our world as we knew it, changed. A transfusion was done that night in Emergency and a CT done during the night. The next day came the news that no parent or 27-year-old young man wants to hear.
Jayden had a very large tumor in his bowel, as well as multiple liver tumors and spots in his lungs. An emergency operation was done a few days later and they removed 1/3 of his bowel, along with lymph nodes and other tissue.
Jay’s recovery was very slow and full of setbacks but 17 days later, he came out of hospital and back to live with us. Jay’s surgery was on May 1st and his ongoing treatment was transferred to our local hospital. Jay started chemo and trial drugs on June 1st (after a stressful 4 weeks of trying to still recover, put on weight and also even qualify for the trial). Jay’s’ particular bowel cancer is an aggressive one called BRAF gene.
Our son is an amazing young man who has got a strong will to fight this with all he has as well as a very pragmatic attitude and through every day since that first day of attending emergency, he has dealt with some dreadful days but has not lost his sense of humor through any of it.
Jay’s’ cancer is currently incurable, but he is doing remarkably well with treatment that will be ongoing and has had significant shrinkage in the liver tumors. We are so blessed to have such wonderful healthcare as well as all the research and trials.
Jay’s journey will not be easy, but he will never walk alone. Bowel cancer does not discriminate. We need more education for doctors and people in general to be made aware that it is NOT just an older person’s disease.
Red Apple Day was our way of spreading the word as well as raising money for research to find a cure and one day eradicating this hideous disease." ~ Cathy.

If you were inspired by Western Autistic School's fundraising activities and would like to support Bowel Cancer Australia through a community fundraiser, get in touch with us through our webform.