Beating bowel cancer together

Why Sophie Brown is at the heart of Challenge 2020

Sophie Brown, 36 from Surrey, was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2019 and is at the heart of our brand new virtual fundraiser, Challenge 2020, to raise money to help stop people dying from the disease.

She is encouraging the nation to run, jog or walk 42km to support the 42,000 people diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.

My life changed forever on 13 June 2019, when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. It was devastating. How could this be happening to me? I’m only 36, with a 10 year old son, who needs me.

For a year before my diagnosis, I was going back and forth to my doctors. I’d been losing weight, bleeding from my bum, was always tired and had pain in my side and right leg. I’d been told this was down to everything from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to Crohn’s disease, but nothing was making a difference. I felt like they didn’t believe me. I even asked my doctor if it could be something like bowel cancer, but they just said I was too young.

Then in February 2019, the pain became unbearable. I started vomiting and had to go to A&E. This was the start of a long road, with repeated trips to hospital.

By April I was diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease. As this had been undiagnosed for so long, I needed to have an operation to remove my fallopian tube. During the surgery, my bowel was accidentally cut into and it was because of this that the surgeons saw a tumour.

In late July I had an operation and was fitted with my stoma. Then it was onto chemo. All of a sudden, everything was happening very quickly. It was a lot to handle but my family were an amazing support to me throughout.

My life has changed in so many ways since I was diagnosed. It’s been very hard on my son. My fertility has also been affected, resulting in me and my boyfriend having to freeze my eggs and his sperm. Surrogacy will be our only option going forward. It’s good having that option, but being told I won’t be able to carry a child feels like part of my future has been ripped away from me.

I’m so angry that my symptoms were ignored for so long by my GP. However, I know that I can’t focus all my energy on this anger. Instead I’m facing my cancer head on and making sure that nobody else gets a diagnosis like me.

That’s why I’m so proud to be part of Challenge 2020. All the money raised will help stop people dying of bowel cancer by funding vital services and lifesaving research.

Challenge 2020 is a virtual fundraiser meaning you can take part wherever you like, whenever you like, at your own pace. You can choose to take on the 16km, 42km or 268km challenge at whatever pace suits you, in your own time, with anyone. Run, jog or walk the distance in a day, a week or a month from today to 30 April 2020.

Find out more about Challenge 2020

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