Clare's story: "I want to help make sure others don't get the news I have"
Friday 3 December 2021
Clare shares her story to urge everyone to donate to our Christmas appeal. Your gift will help fund research to improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of bowel cancer.
Last spring, when everyone was focusing on COVID-19, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. It was such a shock. I'd had a bit of tummy pain for a few weeks but I didn't think at any point that it might be cancer and especially not bowel cancer.
I was really lucky that at such a busy time for hospitals I was seen quickly. I had scans followed by a colonoscopy and I remember the deafening silence in the room afterwards. I knew then that it must be serious.
They said I should prepare for potentially having a cancer diagnosis and a few days later it was confirmed. I was told it was stage 4 and it had spread through my lymph nodes, right up to the top of my chest and all the way through my body. They explained that I'd need to start chemotherapy right away. Things started moving really quickly then, despite coronavirus, and my treatment began two weeks later.
I've since had six months of chemotherapy, which successfully shrunk my tumour from about 13cm to about three cm. They operated a couple of weeks later and I haven't had to have any further treatment since. I recovered well, I don't have any symptoms and I feel healthy again. But I know that I have cancer for life now and will need more treatment in the future. It's truly terrifying when I think how the disease is still ravaging my body.
People find it hard to believe because of how normal I look, but I'm fully aware that my life could only last a few more years. I'm 43 now and I won't see my 50th birthday. I think the statistics for people like me diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer are appalling. I want to help make sure others don't get the news I have, and research is the only way to improve treatments and find ways to prevent it too.
So I'm urging as many people as possible to donate this Christmas, every penny really does count. The future of people with the disease needs to get a whole lot better, and with your help it can absolutely do that.
Let's do all we can to fund lifesaving research this Christmas.
Pictured above and below: Clare with her nephew last winter