Beating bowel cancer together

Emma Matthews joins Walk Together with her family in memory of her husband

Emma Matthews, 39 from Cornwall, is travelling over 250 miles to join our Walk Together in London this year with her dad that was diagnosed with bowel cancer and in memory of her husband that died from the disease.

My dad was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer aged 63 and is currently in remission. Shortly after my dad was recovering, my husband Martyn, aged only 31 was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer and was told it was terminal.

My dad didn't have any symptoms so he was extremely lucky it was picked up from doctors running an investigation after he suffered a small heart attack, but Martyn had been experiencing all of the symptoms of the disease for over a year. However his GP kept telling him it was nothing to worry about. He had regularly asked his doctor if it could be cancer, but they kept dismissing it and told him he was too young to have it - they were wrong - you are never too young.

Marty was 34 years old when he died. My experiences of bowel cancer from a carer's perspective will haunt me for the rest of my life. Finding out about the Bowel Cancer UK charity has helped me with my grief and the staff there have been extremely caring and supportive in helping me share our story to raise awareness to others and make changes to the health system.

I was unable to take part in the first Bowel Cancer UK Walk Together, as I didn't feel well enough to travel and be away from home, so I planned my own Walk Together event in memory of Marty around one of his most favourite places in Cornwall - Crantock and the River Gannel. It was a gorgeous day and tickets sales for the walk raised £661.91 for Bowel Cancer UK.

Since then, I have managed to attend the second Walk Together event in 2018 with my family. We all felt a little apprehensive when we pledged that we would try and raise £60 each in sponsorship, as none of us felt we would be able to achieve this, however, thanks to some very supportive close friends and family we reached our target! Between us we raised £435 to help Bowel Cancer UK continue their vital work to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer. Just to take part and cross that finish line with so many others that have been affected or going through treatment for bowel cancer helped me not to feel alone and its was lovely to finally meet so many of the people I have spoken to only online.

I'll be at the London 2019 Walk Together event again this year and look forward to joining many others who want to join in and help create a future where nobody dies of bowel cancer.

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