Life can be interesting in how it provides opportunities that you may not have foreseen in your life when you were younger. Throughout medical school and before, I would never have envisaged that I would be playing the role of raising awareness about bowel cancer. Cancer in general was that disease that I treat, and the thing that ‘other’ people had to deal with. Being diagnosed at the age of 27 was a paradigm shift, a disease concept was all of a sudden a very real part of my life, one that I have had to live with ever since.
I have been an ambassador for Beat Bowel Cancer for three years now. Their goal as an organisation is to raise awareness of an unglamorous disease that is often underplayed and not widely known about. They are also advocates for bowel cancer related screening and treatment. An interesting point which for me validates the effort of this organisation is that when someone famous is diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer, we all know about it, but when it is bowel cancer, the media often just report it as ‘cancer’, a term that is nebulous and unhelpful. To me it typifies the aversion that we seem to have in talking about this particular disease. When you hear that bowel cancer kills more people than prostate and breast cancer combined, you realise the imbalance in our understanding of this. Hence, as an ambassador, I see it as my responsibility (given my diagnosis) to do what I can, while I can, in the hopes that it will save lives. As with any cancer, the earlier you catch it, the higher the likelihood of successful treatment. If we can raise awareness, implement a screening program, and have treatment options that are comparable to the rest of the developed world (don’t get me started on the availability of Avastin… ), we can make some serious headway into the mortality of this disease.
Last week, as part of the campaign to raise awareness, I was invited to be interviewed on Good Morning.
It should be noted that due to the way TVNZ on demand works, this link will only be available for another 13 days!! So it won’t be available come July. 😦
Until next time…
For those of you haven’t yet seen the 20/20 story that aired on Thursday night, you can do so by clicking on the 20/20 image.
Hannah and I would like to thank the 20/20 team for their great work over the past few years, their non-intrusive manner, and the way they construct stories that reflect our journey well. We think they did a great job at putting the story together, and we just want to acknowledge all the work they have put into it.
I thought I would also put up a series of links to other media appearances over the past few months so that they are all found in one place.
First was the NZ Herald story that featured on the front page shortly after our Give A Little campaign on October 24th:
and a subsequent follow up on October 25th:
The Dominion Post also did a story which appeared on Stuff.co.nz
Then there was also The Daily Mail that picked up on the story a few days later (and I might add a very comprehensive and accurate account given that we didn’t speak to them at all).
The Give A Little team also wrote a nice summary on their site as this was one of the most successful campaigns that they had ever seen.
There was another appearance in the Otago Daily Times in December after a friend of ours (Anna) was able to organise a brand new Audi to be transported from Palmerston North to Dunedin when we were down there for Hannah’s brother’s wedding. We were given the car to drive for the time we were down there. I have to say, the effort involved in organising that was very impressive, and all done without me knowing. I woke up to hear someone was at the door, and Armstrong Prestige were there ready to hand me over the keys, along with a few cameras as well.
Once Elise was born, we did a follow up story with the NZ Herald as an acknowledgement that their first story was responsible for at least $50 000 dollars of the fundraising that happened back in October. We wanted to let people know how it had made a difference, and that I was able to make the birth of Elise.
After all of that, we have had a number of approaches from the media that we have decided in large part to decline, as we don’t want publicity for the sake of publicity. We also want to protect Elise, as she is yet able to consent to such exposure, and her privacy is for us to care for.
This post is about consolidating the media links into one easily accessible place, and to acknowledge the work that has been done by the media that has both represented our journey well, and also helped contribute to the money raised that has allowed me to continue with treatment that so far seems to be working.
Until next time…
Just a quick note for those who are interested, 20/20 are doing a third follow up on myself, Hannah, and now Elise. The follow up started last year when we announced our pregnancy, and then subsequently caught the events that followed including bad news scans, radiotherapy, and the give-a-little campaign.
The reporter, Emma Keeling, has written a blog post (which is very flattering) about it which can be seen HERE, along with a 30 second excerpt from some of the interviews.
The segment will air on February 20th, 9.30pm on TV2. I will put up the on demand link on the blog after it airs.
All the cool people will be watching….. 🙂
As part of the whole 20/20 experience over the past few weeks, one of the things I was asked to do was to keep a video blog during my 49th round of chemotherapy. So this round’s update comes to you in video form, 3 short 1 minute videos for each day of chemo. For the show, they only did about 20 second snippets of each, so here they are in their entirety.
The next round is the half century….
The past 2 weeks after getting back from Italy has been occupied by many things in my life. One of which included moving house in the first 5 days back. It didn’t help that I managed to get a nice case of gastroenteritis upon the return trip which left me house bound for a few days. To add to the busyness of this all, 20/20 had contacted me just prior to Italy and requested to do a follow up story on me from their original one 18 months ago. So, in order to keep life interesting and full of surprises, we said yes. This meant the last 2 weeks also involved a lot of time with camera crew and interviewing. They filmed us move house, followed me around for a shift in Auckland Emergency Department, came over for dinner, and we spent some studio time with them.
The story went to air on Thursday night and we were very happy with it. We got to see it for the first time with everybody else, and felt the crew at 20/20 put it together really well. Hannah and I have had a huge amount of positive feedback from the story, both from friends, family, and strangers. We would like to thank the 20/20 crew publicly for their great work and company over that time.
For those that did not see the show, you can see it here..
Until next time…
I know I have been absent for a little bit, life has been busy over the past few weeks, and I will write a bit more in due course, but this is a post for a quick heads up that I will be on 20/20 on Thursday the 1st of November, TV2 at 9.30pm. They are doing a follow up story on me from last years article.
Once its up online, I shall post a link on here, and I will also play a bit of catch up on the update front!
Last week I was interviewed on Good Morning for Beat Bowel Cancer‘s second Bowel Cancer Awareness week. Last year you may remember 20/20 did a story on myself and another girl called Claire, and I was also interviewed on the Breakfast show as part of the week. Sadly, Claire passed away about 6 weeks after it aired. Statistically speaking, I only had a 20% chance of surviving to this years awareness week.
The interview didn’t get put up onto on-demand, and thanks to MySky’s inability to export files, I had to resort to the somewhat manual means of filming the video in realtime using my 7D. So please excuse the quality.