... is about my Dad Mike and bowel cancer (it ended badly), my partner's Mum Pat and bowel cancer (it ended badly), my brother-in-law Steve and bowel cancer (he sneaked in a happy so far ending), and my partner Julie and bowel cancer (which is currently a choose your own adventure story, with two possible directions from here).
My Dad Mike (that's him over there in the rugby shirt, looking a bit grumpy) was 55 when he was finally diagnosed with bowel cancer. He was only expecting to be diagnosed with diverticulitis, or colitis, or IBS, or something else irritating. It was a bit of a rude shock for him to learn that not only did he have bowel cancer, but that it had spread to his liver. We never really got a chance to get over the shock of his diagnosis before he died, 3 months later. Which can't be right, as it's only the elderly who die of bowel cancer. Isn't it?
My partner's mum Pat was only 34 when she died of bowel cancer, leaving 2 small children motherless. Which can't be right, because young people don't die of bowel cancer. Do they? Read on....
My partner's brother Steve was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 38 - he needed months of chemo and radiotherapy and then major, traumatic, surgery to remove his tumour and his entire bowel and save his live. He's now 40 and, wonderfully, his life has begun again. Genetic testing has just revealed that he inherited a mutant FAP gene from his mum, which was the cause of his bowel cancer. Which can't be right, as bowel cancer isn't hereditary. Is it?
My partner Julie is 37 and is currently waiting for the results of her genetics test. There's a 50% chance she'll have inherited FAP. And if she has, the chances of her developing bowel cancer are 100%. 100%. Which definitely can't be right, can it?
For these horrible reasons, which are all correct even though they shouldn't be, i'm raising money for Bowel Cancer UK.
My good, if somewhat crazy, friend Jenny Morgan is helping with my campaign by riding her motorbike from Paris to Dakar as part of the Heroes Legends Rally - the 4000 or so miles that she'll be covering in 14 days makes my 26.2 miles in (hopefully) 5 hours look a little weedy but i'm doing more training than her, so it evens out!
Any donation you can make or awareness you can raise is whole-heartedly, honestly, genuinely and gratefully received.
Please take a moment to watch my 4 min film
We have had the very welcome news that Julie has not inherited the mutant polyp-causing gene, so she now just has ‘as much chance as the rest of the population’ of getting bowel cancer. We will remain vigilant!
Meanwhile, my training schedule has hit a block in the form of my right knee - which is (in the words of my doctor) ‘a horrible, creaky, old knee.’ Understandably, my knee took offence at this diagnosis and is still refusing to run anywhere, so i’m clocking up the cross-training miles on my bike. Consequently, if i’m allowed to cycle the Virgin London Marathon, I think I might actually win it - which would be nice.
However, on the assumption that bicycles, scooters and heelies are probably banned from international running events, it looks like I will be registering a mammoth 7 hour finish, as walking briskly will be my only option. I don’t really understand how a knee can painfully refuse to run but is jolly happy to walk as quick as you like. I don’t understand, but I am glad – walking beats hopping any day.
I completed the 2010 Virgin London Marathon in 5 hours and 23 minutes!
The support of my family and friends was amazing, and the support of all those whooping, cheering, sweet-offering, clapping, strangers who were shouting my name and encouraging me every single step of those 26.2 miles was astonishing.
Yes, I have blisters and black toenails and oh such ACHING legs.
But I also have a great big medal and memories that will last a lifetime.