Survivor and surgeon take to supercars for local bowel cancer charity
Published: 6 April 2017
A fantastic collection of supercars have been driving a crucial message from Lands-End to Bristol for a super cause.
The ‘BCW Grand Tour’, lead by local charity Bowel Cancer West, included a Lamborghini, a Porsche and the 2016 winner of the Crumball Rally to draw attention to bowel cancer in the hope of saving lives during bowel cancer awareness month in April.
Each year, around 40,000 men and women are diagnosed with bowel cancer. It is the UK’s second biggest cause of death through cancer, largely because too many people either aren’t aware of the symptoms, will ignore them or remain too shy to seek advice.
Apart from being one of the best places in the UK to receive treatment, the West Country is particularly at risk (according to a recent survey) with 9 out of 10 people admitting their knowledge is ‘average’ or ‘poor’.
The tour visited eight major hospitals in the region and arrived at Torbay Hospital on Tuesday 4 April meeting with bowel cancer patients and hospital staff.
Sam Brenton, Lead Cancer Nurse at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to host Bowel Cancer West’s Grand Tour of super cars at Torbay Hospital. The cars certainly drew a lot of attention which was the main aim of the event.
“This month is bowel cancer awareness month and whilst more people than ever are surviving a cancer diagnosis many people are diagnosed late with bowel cancer because they either aren’t aware of the symptoms, they may ignore them or remain too shy to seek advice.
“The super car rally has helped to draw attention to the importance of recognising the symptoms of bowel cancer and to encourage people to seek advice from their GP as early as possible.”
Spearheading the tour was local bowel cancer survivor Roger Stone and the surgeon who operated on him, Mark Coleman and his team.
Mr Stone said: “I’m so grateful to Mark for saving my life and delighted I can do this tour with him. He’d said to me recently that if it’d ignored my symptoms another few weeks, I probably wouldn’t be here today. The work this charity does to raise awareness is so important and I’m delighted we were able to combine our visit to Torbay Hospital to help lift patients spirits and let them know there is good local charity out there trying to make a difference.”
Surgeon Mark Coleman said: “It was great fun driving these incredible cars but there is a very serious message we are trying to get to people that bowel cancer be cured in over 90 per cent of cases if caught early. During the tour, we passed on life-saving advice for anyone experiencing irregular bowel habits, bleeding from the bottom or abdominal pain or bloating to visit their GP. Likewise, anyone over the age of 60 who receives a free NHS test in the post, must not ignore this.”
Through generous donations from the public, the charity is looking to save more lives like Roger by raising awareness as well as committing to local research and extended training for GPs and nurses.
The car collection for the tour was generously loaned by local supporters.