Dress: Vintage, via Miss Modular Vintage
On February 28th, the US president Barack Obama declared March 2014 to be Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month; and today, March the 7th 2014, is “National Dress In Blue Day“. Our own antipodean bowel cancer awareness month is in June (with Red Apple Day landing on June the 18th this year) but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to raise awareness and support for a disease that touched my family too closely in the last couple of years.
In July 2012 my baby sister Mae was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer. It was an inconceivable shock to the family and rocked everyone who knows her to the core. There was no family history of bowel cancer, no symptoms to watch out for. Her diagnosis was a fluke, and it almost came too late. Such is the danger of the silent killer that is bowel cancer.
The survival statistics for sufferers of stage four anything cancer are appalling. The statistics for sufferers of colorectal cancers even worse. Early diagnosis could mean the difference between a 74% chance of surviving 5 years, and a sobering 6%. But despite being one of the most prevalent and deadly cancers, it’s still one of the least discussed and receives very little fundraising attention and support.
In Australia bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer, will hit one in twelve people and is the second biggest killer behind lung cancer. On average Australian sufferers have a 5-year survival rate of just 66% which lags well behind the 90% for patients of the more media-friendly cancers of breast and prostrate, and while 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if diagnosed early, less than 40% actually are.
I’m wearing blue today to support Mae in her battle, but also to encourage my readers to get behind their local bowel and colorectal cancer organisations. Here are the links for UK, for America, and for Australia.
And I’d encourage you all to buy yourself one of the red apple pins from Bowel Cancer Australia and wear it proudly.
As far as Mae goes, you can follow her journey on her own blog MaeBeHere, but I wanted to share her personal words with you:
Now… a year later…. and I am still here, against the odds. Still fighting. One year in remission. One year respite from that evil disease. 20 months since diagnosis. My health has came back. Last week I moved house, lifted boxes like a normal person… this is a big deal given that just a year ago even lifting the cat was too hard. My heart has come back. My passion. I am back to following my dreams. I changed jobs, changed lives… enrolled in uni. Started vet school. I am determined to spit in the face of my diagnosis. I will NOT go quietly. Today, I am not a stage IV cancer ‘sufferer’… I am a stage IV cancer survivor.
I love you, Mae.
Your sister’s attitude is amazing and inspiring – I send you all good wishes. Rachel
Hugs to you and your sister.
I’d like to put my doctorly $0.02 in and add that people should ask their doctor about when to get screened- there is a screening program in Australia!
I made my mum have a colonoscopy at age 50, her mum had bowel cancer at age 60.
You look lovely- I hope that beautiful smile returns soon xx
I’m gonna be in blue todat. So glad to hear your sister is doing ok.
Hugs to you, Mae and all your family. Bowel cancer is a bastard of a thing and I wish Mae all the best in her fight
i love this dress, it is adorable.x
great cause. and Mae is very brave woman, just as you are! 🙂
Big huge hugs to you & yr sister!!
Well done you for raising awareness. I lost my beautiful grandmother and several great aunts and uncles to this horrible disease. My Mom has 9 brothers and sisters and my grandmother made them all promise, before she died, to pay attention and take colon health seriously. Congrats Mae on being a survivor!
Glad to see you slowly putting yourself back out. Good on you.
Thanks to the honesty and bravery of your sister, and because you shared her story, I got scared about my own symptoms and finally agreed to a colonoscopy. They found several early stage malignant polyps which they removed and now I have to have colonoscopies every couple of years to stay healthy. So THANK YOU both, because the gastroenterologist told me I definitely would have developed invasive cancer within 2 years.
Great cause, and great dress!
Your sister is amazing. I read her blog posts and what she has had to endure is beyond measure. Thank you for sharing her story with us. And an apple pin is on its way to my home 🙂
Ooooo. This dress is divine on you!!!! You always look so lovely and put together. Your sisters story is, wow, inspiring and sad. I will keep her in my thoughts. What a strong woman she is!!!!
I also hope your spirits lift soon. It makes me sad to see the sadness in your eyes. I’ve been there, I understand, it’s not an easy road. Your grace and continued blogging speaks volumes to your character! As in, wish you lived close, I’d take you out for coffee and twirling. (Yes, I often go outside when I’m home alone and twirl. It’s quite liberating!!) hang in there my dear!!
<3 from across the pond. Jules
Red and blue is my favorite color combo. Your sister is pretty great, I gotta say, but I’m sure you know that. You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.
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