Tamsin Edwards

End of monitoring trek: Bowel Cancer UK

Fundraising for Bowel Cancer UK
raised of £5,000 target
by 187 supporters
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Coast to coast walk across Devon, 31 July 2023
Bowel Cancer UK

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1071038
We campaign, support and fund research to stop people dying of bowel cancer


Why now?

August 2023 marks the end of my monitoring for bowel cancer recurrence: my final CT scan and blood tests, on the fifth anniversary of the end of chemotherapy (photo above). I want to celebrate that, to reflect on that time and on getting here now.

I also lost two people to bowel cancer in 2023. My uncle Jerry Rolling (photo above), who I’d only been able to meet for the first time in recent years: a curious and kind devotee to the arts, sciences, and helping his community. And a sweet colleague, Tom Lindsay, fellow trustee of The Champernowne Trust art therapy charity, which my dad worked with for decades, who died very suddenly in his fifties. Last year, I was very sad to see Deborah James finally die after years of raising awareness: her podcast began the week before I started chemotherapy, and was the best source of information, comfort and camaraderie anyone could ask for.

My very good friend’s husband is also currently undergoing treatment for bowel cancer, and in recent years, my other uncle had treatment, and my aunty had a lucky escape by noticing the signs before it took hold.

Bowel cancer is the most common cancer in the UK after breast, prostate and lung.

Where and how far?

I'll walk coast-to-coast across Devon, the county where I grew up. The Two Moors Way is 117 miles and crosses Dartmoor and Exmoor. I'll start on the 31st July 2023 and do about three-quarters of the walk over the first half of August, wild camping over Dartmoor. I'll do the last quarter in November, with my aunty Sue who did the first half of the walk twenty years ago, in the run-up to her 80th birthday (yes, really).

I still have fatigue 5 years after chemo, so it could be quite tough: but it's hard to know, as I haven't done anything so sustained before. In August I'll camp so that I can be flexible about the distance each day and rest when I need to. I've spent the last two years working on managing my fatigue, so now my energy levels are more predictable and I've been able to get stronger and fitter. But my fatigue is cognitive as well as physical, so I'll need to take a bit of care in navigating when I get tired...

One of the reasons for choosing a long walk is time to reflect; the other is to conquer a few fears around physical and mental capacities, comfort, sleep. Serious illness can make you lose confidence in your body and mind, and I want to push myself a bit to banish those lingering anxieties. Dartmoor is just wild enough for that.

Bowel cancer

I'm fundraising for Bowel Cancer UK, the UK’s leading bowel cancer charity. They fund research, provide information and support to patients and their families, and educate the public and professionals about the disease. I found their website incredibly useful when looking for reliable and clear information.

And by fundraising for Bowel Cancer UK specifically, I aim to raise awareness of this common disease and its symptoms. Survival rates vary enormously by stage, and this depends on how quickly you notice the signs -- whether from symptoms, or a poo test -- and are diagnosed. Please go to the doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

- bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo

- persistent, unexplained change in bowel habits (e.g. constipation or diarrhoea)

- unexplained weight loss

- unexplained extreme tiredness

- a pain or lump in your tummy

If 200 people can sponsor me £25 - about 20p a mile - we'll get to the target of £5000. Thank you.

About the charity

Bowel Cancer UK

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1071038
We’re the UK’s leading bowel cancer charity. We’re determined to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer. Our vision is a future where nobody dies of the disease.

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