Growing a beard for bowel cancer
Tuesday 2 October 2018
Written by Richard Bingham
It was a colleague of mine that had the idea of signing up for last year's Decembeard. Others were quick to follow, myself included, when we realised what an easy yet hugely worthwhile fundraiser it is.
We soon had no fewer than nine of us forming a team and preparing to ditch the razor for a month. I already had a beard, so I shaved it off for the first time in nine years and started all over again. By the end of the month, there were some seriously shaggy beards. Between us we raised over £8,000 for Decembeard – both amazing and humbling in equal measure.
I am a committed supporter of Bowel Cancer UK, since being diagnosed with the disease in May 2016. Since then I have had 25 rounds of radiotherapy, 27 rounds of chemo and seven operations. Treatment is ongoing, although currently the cancer is sort-of under control. There's no knowing how long it will stay this way though.
It was a steep learning curve, but the charity was there to help throughout.
I consider myself to be quite lucky. A number of people of my age and younger that I have met with this evil disease have already passed away, despite being diagnosed after me, which is a fact I find impossible to process.
The information, support and advice provided by Bowel Cancer UK has been utterly invaluable, especially in the early days when my wife and I were struggling to get our heads around the situation we suddenly found ourselves in. It was a steep learning curve, but the charity was there to help throughout.
In addition, they fund research that looks to improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of the disease which, given I am unlikely to recover, gives me hope that in the future their research just might help keep me alive for longer.
Sadly Richard died in August 2020.