Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Lives & Times at Beating Bowel Cancer Patient Day 2016

I was delighted to be a part of Beating Bowel Cancer Patient Day held at The Royal College of Surgeons in London. This annual event brings together bowel cancer patients and their families for a day of support, education and inspiration. Jumping ahead to the end of the day I got to meet, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, the patron of the charity. Floella sadly lost her mother to bowel cancer. For many of us she will always be remembered from her time as a presenter on Play School. How on earth does Floella manage to look exactly the same??

I was there to sell copies of the Lives & Times book to raise as much money for the charity as possible. This was a complete first for me and I finally had to emerge from behind my social media and internet identity to meet people in the real world.

Centre photo is, Mark Flannagan, the CEO of Beating Bowel Cancer. It was great to finally meet him as well as so many other members of the charity who I have been in contact with over the last four years. Mark ensured that the book sales got off to a flyer by kindly giving it a plug during his opening address. On the right is Ian Jackson, who has recovered from bowel cancer, who was my neighbour for the day on the Colostomy Association stand. Ian was the first person to buy a book on the day.

Going into the day I knew that it would be quite a lot to do on my own so I decided to ask for some help. Over recent months I have been absolutely amazed and touched by the warmth of support for me and the book from one group in particular. A fans group of my favourite band, The Alarm, on Facebook have been buying the book in large numbers helping me push the fundraising past £1000. It soon became apparent that, as well as the support, unfortunately far too many of them have been touched by bowel cancer losing family members. I am already confident that I have made some great new friendships that will endure for the long term. I am looking forward to meeting many of them next January in Llandudno. Tina Atkins, one such person, came along to help me for the whole day, giving up her Saturday and travelling down from Cambridge. Sadly her husband Mike lost his mother to bowel cancer. We hadn't met before, so it was really nice meeting her on the day and we made a great team selling more books than we dared hope. £130 raised on the day took the total raised so far by the book to over £1300.

The pop up banner and my specially designed shirt for the day went down a treat and made it pretty impossible for anyone to miss the stand. I consider the day an over whelming success so I would love to try this again.

Apart from my massive thanks to Tina for her help, I would like to thank everyone at the charity for making me feel so welcome, all the people who came up and said hello, and of course to every single person who kindly bought a copy of the book. If you would like to support and buy a copy of the book there are many ways to hold of a copy. To see how you can purchase it click here. All proceeds raised are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

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