Opening the lines of communication and encouraging men to speak up and take responsibility for their health is the main aim of the Biggest Ever Blokes’ Lunch (BEBL), held annually in Shepparton, Victoria for the past ten years.
Chris McPherson started the lunch in 2009, to get blokes together to talk about their health, which is not necessarily an easy thing to do.
“My sister was only 44 when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer,” said John-Paul Jong.
Contradicting the myth that bowel cancer only affects older people, more than 2000 Australians under the age of 55 will be told they have the disease each year.
Alexandra considered herself to be a healthy person.
She continued to play team sports well into her 20s and when she reached her 30s she became a regular walker, enjoyed jogging occasionally and after each child attended a boot camp to get back into shape.
As someone who loved fruit and vegetables, Alexandra also found it easy to eat well.
Life was great.
I was fit, active and looking forward to the Melbourne Cup long weekend.
To make things even better, I had just been promoted to my dream job as a primary school principal.
It was only after a few people at work mentioned I was looking a bit pale, even yellow, that I decided to drop into the health clinic.
I thought that with two young kids, all my dignity had already been lost and nothing much could gross me out.
Yet it was one good, long episode of rectal bleeding that really made me face my squeamishness and uneasiness with discussing bodily functions.
The bleeding had stopped by the time I arrived at the hospital, when the doctors asked, “How much blood? A teaspoon? A tablespoon?”