Me, My Beard and Why

Be the face of Decembeard® Australia 2016!

The fun and festive campaign isn’t just hair-raising, it’s about fundraising to help save lives and beat bowel cancer.

Your support of Decembeard® Australia directly contributes to Bowel Cancer Australia’s work, providing practical and emotional support for the growing number of Australians affected by the disease, from prevention and early diagnosis to research, quality treatment and care.

Would you like to share your bowel cancer story to help raise awareness?

To help break through the stigma that is associated with bowel cancer we need your help to spread the word!

Whether you are living with bowel cancer, beyond bowel cancer or know someone who is, we want to hear from you!

To share your story, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with Me, My Beard and Why (for men) or Me, Decembeard and Why (for women) in the subject line or submit your details using our contact us web form

Me, My Beard and Why - Bryan
Thankful every day for early bowel cancer detection
Me, My Beard and Why - Adam
When the phone line becomes a lifeline
Me, My Beard and Why - Tom
A living example of how research can benefit bowel cancer patients
Me, My Beard and Why - Andrew
Decembeard® - the perfect platform to help others
Me, My Beard and Why - Wayne
Wearing his beard with fatherly pride this Decembeard®
Me, Decembeard and Why - Ashleigh
I am a nurse and a midwife, a daughter and a sister.
Me, My Beard and Why - Daniel
I'm Daniel, I’m 33 years old and I’m growing a beard this December.
Me, My Beard and Why - Beards for Daniel
Daniel was a much-loved son, brother-in-law, husband, father and friend.
Me, My Beard and Why - Anthony
I first heard about Decembeard® during December 2013, around 6 months after an event that was one of the hardest I’ve experienced in my life.
Me, My Beard and Why - Sam
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Me, Decembeard and Why - Jocelyn
My husband Michael was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May 2014, after returning home from an overseas business trip.
Me, My Beard and Why - Dave
I want to start by saying that bowel cancer is a truly horrible disease which affects both men and women almost equally.
Me, My Beard and Why - Jamie
In April 2015, 5 weeks after my son was born, I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer.
Me, My Beard and Why - Bryan

Thankful every day for early bowel cancer detection

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer after I began to experience early symptoms in 2009.

Healthy and fit, I was beginning life as an empty nester with my wife Loretta when the cancer struck.

That one health check narrowed our field of vision from years to weeks and days.

In just over three weeks, I had surgery.

The tumour and a section of bowel were removed and fortunately the cancer had not spread beyond the bowel wall.

The constant checks and follow ups were always a cause for anxiety, and the worry of recurrence was constantly with us.

Early detection and surgery meant my wife and I were able to share our 40th wedding anniversary.

I’ve been able to watch my children grow into wonderful adults and I can play with my grandchildren.

I was lucky and I know others who were lucky, but I also knew some who weren’t.

I have always believed there were lessons to be learned and shared from this experience and since this opportunity came at a significant cost, I didn’t want to squander it.

Bowel cancer is a life changer in so many ways.

I decided to team up with Bowel Cancer Australia in 2015 to raise awareness and funds during Decembeard® in order to stop it from being a life-ender for so many.

Please support Bowel Cancer Australia this Decembeard® to help save lives and to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with bowel cancer.

Your tax deductible donation will help make real change happen from prevention and early diagnosis to research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer.

Bryan

Photo: Stuart Scott, Maitland Mercury

 

Me, My Beard and Why - Adam

When the phone line becomes a lifeline

At 37 years old, I had a great job, a beautiful wife and two healthy young children.

You could say I was living the Australian dream.

I was healthy and fit, and honestly thought bowel cancer was something that only affected people in their later years.

So you can imagine my shock when I was diagnosed with Stage III bowel cancer.

A few days after I was diagnosed and went into surgery, I received the first of many calls from a Bowel Cancer Australia Bowel Care Nurse who has since become a great friend.

The help that I was given over the phone was instrumental in my healing process.

Sometimes our conversations lasted just a few minutes, but there were times when she stayed on the line with me for up to an hour, offering support and answers to questions no one else seemed to know.

I battled through surgery and six months of chemotherapy, and nearly two years later I am very happy to say that I am alive and healthy and trying to enjoy every single day of life, although the journey hasn’t always been easy.

Following recovery, I felt depressed and found it difficult to carry on initially.

The Bowel Cancer Australia Nurse put me in touch with another male survivor via the charity’s Peer-to-Peer Support Network who was experiencing similar challenges to mine as a result of our young age.

Chris and I have both tackled bowel cancer in our own ways and dealt with it individually, but it was great having him to talk through my challenges with, as most of the other patients I encountered were at least 20 years older than me.

Until I met Chris, it was quite a lonely journey. My family was always there for me, and I had the support of the nurse at Bowel Cancer Australia, but having someone to talk to who was living the same experience, battling this horrific disease, made a huge difference for me.

I gave up my secure job and decided to pursue a long standing ambition. I now have my own food truck, out of which I serve pirate-themed meals at functions, markets, and special events, sharing my bounty with Bowel Cancer Australia.

I volunteer to speak with other patients my age, and we share our journeys, discuss the similar challenges we have faced medically, physically and psychologically. It’s frightening the amount of young people I have met on my journey who are challenged with the same fate as mine.

I also have my own website and blog which I use to raise money for Bowel Cancer Australia in various ways to give thanks to all the medical staff, especially the Bowel Cancer Australia nurse I spoke with regularly during my personal battle towards recovery.

It remains a day-to-day approach, but as time goes on and with my attention focused on my new venture I am coping more easily than before.

Life today is about trying to balance work and children, along with my diagnosis and treatments.

Giving back, supporting others who might be going through what I have and raising funds for Bowel Cancer Australia helps me to stay positive when I start to get down about things.

Bowel cancer is certainly a cause that doesn’t get too much awareness.

Sign up and share your “Me, My Beard and Why” story at Decembeard.org.au today.

Me, My Beard and Why - Tom

A living example of how research can benefit bowel cancer patients

Unfortunately, I ignored early warning signs and put off a colonoscopy that could have changed my life. By the time I got around to having it done, I was diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

With the cancer having spread to my liver and then later to both of my lungs, I was given just two years to live.

I signed up to participate in a clinical trial, which I have been participating in for the past two years.

Inspired by the work of Bowel Cancer Australia and determined to raise awareness about bowel cancer, I have been an active advocate and fundraiser.

The only reason I’m alive today is because of the treatment I received from wonderful doctors, nurses and health care professionals supporting me, and the medical advances achieved thanks to research by organisations such as Bowel Cancer Australia.

Efforts by the 100% community-funded charity have led to new funding and greater patient access to life-changing cancer treatments in Australia with over $9.8 million committed to bowel cancer research in collaboration with funding partners.

Looking at the advances that are happening in the cancer space every day, I truly believe that we will see the end of many cancers within a generation.

Every dollar donated will help to achieve this goal!

Sign up and share your “Me, My Beard and Why” story at Decembeard.org.au today.

Me, Decembeard and Why - Felicity

The girl with colitis

I recently completed my Master of Professional Accounting and am currently working in Finance. (I think a lot of people are under the impression that Finance is really boring, so I'd like to show that that's not the case!)

I first heard about Decembeard® from my friend Antonio, who was participating last year with a group of his mates.

I've always had a thing for facial hair, so I freely admit that that was the initial attraction!

However, once I read Antonio's story about his friend Deano who had passed away at the age of 26, and how that had inspired him and his mates to get involved in this campaign, I knew I wanted to get involved as well.

I never had the opportunity to meet Deano, but he's still been a huge inspiration to me.

Since becoming involved in Decembeard®, I've heard many stories from friends and family who have been affected by bowel cancer.

I learned that Elizabeth, who I'd met back when I lived in Canberra, had passed away in July from bowel cancer.

I heard that my Uncle Mick is currently battling bowel cancer.

I've had numerous people tell me of their own connections to this disease.

I've even had a good friend of mine, who works as a nurse, tell me that as a result of my Decembeard® efforts she has been inspired to research further into bowel diseases, and that this knowledge has helped her provide better care to her patients.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2014, shortly after my younger sister was (hence my personal Decembeard® team name, "The Girl with Colitis").

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that basically means my large intestine doesn't function the way that it should.

Aside from creating day-to-day challenges, this disease also puts me at high risk of bowel cancer.

When my symptoms (constant, bloody diarrhoea and cramping) first appeared, I was scared.

However, I was lucky that my sister had told me about her own symptoms, and so I knew that I needed to see a doctor right away.

I know that not everybody is so lucky to have a close friend or family member who can guide and support them when they begin to experience symptoms, and encourage them to undergo further investigation.

I think that's really concerning, because bowel cancer can be successfully treated in 90 per cent of cases if detected early.

So my goal is to spread awareness about bowel cancer.

I hope that people who see me or hear my story will be encouraged to talk to their doctor early about their bowel activity.

As a female, I feel I'm in a really fortunate position to be able to spread awareness of bowel cancer in a fun way, through wearing brightly-coloured knitted beards.

I certainly drew a lot of attention last year, and I'm sure this year will be even bigger!

This Decembeard®, join me in raising awareness and raising funds for Bowel Cancer Australia and help us to beat bowel cancer by signing up today

About the beards: I knit each one by hand, using a pattern I found online which I've heavily modified to suit the look I'm going for. I've come up with a couple of new & improved designs this year, which I look forward to modelling!

Me, My Beard and Why - Andrew

Decembeard® - the perfect platform to help others

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 22, so I know from my own personal experience that bowel cancer affects men of all ages.

You can be young, eat well, exercise regularly and still be told, “You have bowel cancer.”

Decembeard® is a great way to raise awareness about the early detection of bowel cancer, when 90% of cases can be successfully treated..

Growing a beard offers a visual reminder to others about this silent cancer killer.

So this year I’m supporting Decembeard.

Not just as a way of raising awareness, but also as a way to raise funds to support vital bowel cancer research.

Without funding research there will be no progress in finding ways to reduce adverse reactions to current medical interventions.

I’d also like to see research funded for the development of medical interventions that impact less on quality of life and body function for those diagnosed with bowel cancer, like me.

Following surgery to remove the cancer from my bowel, I took 3 years off of work in order to adapt to the changes that had happened within my body.

I felt it was important to give my body time to heal and to take time to adapt mentally to the adverse reactions from surgery.

Since being diagnosed with bowel cancer, I have prioritised my life to ensure that I can live up to my own moral values, which includes helping other people. Decembeard® provides me with a great way to do that.

Join me and Bowel Cancer Australia this Decembeard® and help us beat bowel cancer.

Sign up at www.decembeard.org.au.

Me, My Beard and Why - Wayne

Wearing his beard with fatherly pride this Decembeard®

I lost my 26 year old son Dean to bowel cancer in 2013.

There was no history of bowel cancer on either side of our family.

Losing a child is something you don’t recover from.

The whole experience was horrible – to see a healthy young man deteriorate like that, and there is nothing you can do.

It’s something no parent, no one, should go through.

As his Mum said, ‘We have to wake up each morning to the horror of him not being with us anymore.’

I have not participated in Decembeard® before, except to donate to one of my son’s friend’s funds, but this year I wanted to get involved directly.

I’m hoping my participation will help to spread the message that you’re never too young to be told you have bowel cancer, and to encourage Australians to seek help when something seems wrong.

As soon as something doesn’t feel right make an appointment to talk to your GP, because if detected early 90% of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated.

One of Dean’s closest friends, Anthony organised a team of Dean’s mates called “Deano’s Bearded Stallions,” in honour of Dean and to raise awareness about bowel cancer, particularly in young people.

I’m planning to use my beard to encourage conversations about bowel cancer in men and hopefully get more people to support Bowel Cancer Australia as a result.

More than 8,000 men will be diagnosed with bowel cancer this year, and around 560 (7%) of them are under the age of 50, like my son Dean.

Giving back, raising funds for Bowel Cancer Australia and supporting others who might be going through what my son and our family did, helps me to stay positive when I start to get down about things.

I hope you’ll join me this Decembeard® and help Bowel Cancer Australia to help save lives.

To support Wayne this Decembeard® visit https://heroix-au.everydayhero.com/event/decembeard2016/hero_page/wayne/donate 

Me, Decembeard and Why - Ashleigh

I am a nurse and a midwife, a daughter and a sister.

As a health professional and as a sister, I’ve learned that everybody’s journey is different and that everyone needs love and support.

My big brother Dean lost his life to bowel cancer at the young age of 26.

It was fast, aggressive and the worst thing I’ve ever had to witness.

He was taken away from us just 8 months after diagnosis.

I have treated many wonderful people in my profession, but my greatest honour was nursing my brother during his final weeks of life as he received palliative care at home.

He was and forever will be my favourite patient.

As Dean's cancer progressed, his physical-self deteriorated.

It was so heartbreaking, watching someone I loved so much look so ill and not himself.

People often think that bowel cancer is an “old person’s disease,” but bowel cancer affects people of all ages.

The thing I am so truly thankful for was that Dean’s mental-self didn’t deteriorate – he stayed cheeky until the moment he passed.

This was a big blessing amidst the pain.

As brother and sister you are supposed to continue growing up as adults together – to watch each other become parents and become ‘Auntie’ and ‘Uncle’ to each other’s children.

We were supposed to continue to be part of each other’s lives.

It breaks my heart that Deano will not be here to share those moments with me.

My heart also breaks for my Mum and Dad who have lost their beautiful baby boy.

But we are very lucky to have the support of Dean’s friends, who were so great to grow up with, and who have been such a wonderful support through everything.

After Dean passed away, they joined together and created ‘Deano’s Bearded Stallions’ as a way to honour Dean’s legacy and raise awareness about bowel cancer.

Since that time, I have supported their team.

In place of something so tragic, they have created a meaningful way to celebrate and honour Dean’s life and his untimely passing.

Our family feels so blessed that Dean’s mates have continued this tradition, showing their love and support while raising awareness and funds to help beat this disease.

I really enjoy watching the boys as they post their beard progress updates and seeing people supporting and donating to their efforts, in recognition or bowel cancer in all ages.

Reading the comments, memories, and thoughts people share about Dean, along with the positive comments they write about the boys’ participation and their progress in Decembeard, fills the spaces of my heart that became empty after Dean's untimely passing.

This Decembeard® I’ll be supporting my brother’s ‘Stallions’ again, as they continue to honour their mate, my brother while raising awareness to save lives.

Sometimes I feel like people prolong visits to health professionals due to their feelings of embarrassment and to avoid an awkward conversation.

But that awkward conversation might be the thing that saves your life.

If you know of anyone going through a hard time medically, it’s very helpful and refreshing if people talk to you about it, ask how things are going, maybe cook a meal and deliver it to help lighten the load.

Support, talking it out and love are mainly what people need.

I know that these are what helped us get through.

For more information about Decembeard or to sign up www.decembeard.org.au, or to sponsor Deano’s Bearded Stallions visit https://decembeard2016.everydayhero.com/au/deano-s-bearded-stallions-2016.

 

Me, My Beard and Why - Daniel

I'm Daniel, I’m 33 years old and I’m growing a beard this December.

I decided to participate in Decembeard this year because I have seen firsthand the difference early and late detection can make.

My sister, Leanne was diagnosed with Stage IV Bowel Cancer at the age of 30.

For nearly a year she was experiencing a range of symptoms, but not one seemed to know what was wrong.

Finally, in July 2011 she had an ultrasound which revealed numerous masses that would later be diagnosed as bowel cancer.

Leanne fought hard for 18 months, but due to the cancer being found at such a late stage there were no surgical options available.

Chemo & radiation managed to shrink some of the tumours, but they kept coming back.

Leanne passed away in December 2012.

Due to Leanne's diagnosis, my wife Jess was more aware of the symptoms.

After experiencing a large bleed, she spoke with a doctor who dismissed it as Traveller’s Diarrhoea.

The bleeding was recurrent for the following twelve months and so Jess decided to bring it up with her regular doctor who immediately arranged for Jess to have a colonoscopy.

A small tumour was found and she was diagnosed with Stage 1 bowel cancer.

She was 29 years old.

Jess underwent surgery, and has since been declared ‘cancer free’.

Bowel Cancer is not just an old person’s disease.

It can affect anyone of any age.

That is why I am supporting Bowel Cancer Australia this Decembeard, to raise awareness and remind people that you are never too young to be told you have bowel cancer and that you need to be an advocate for your own health.

I was so appreciative of Bowel Cancer Australia for the support they offered to my wife and me during her initial diagnosis.

She now participates in the Peer-to-Peer support program to try and help others in a similar situation.

I hope that by sharing my story, I will help stop another family from losing a loved one to this disease.

90% of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated if detected early.

For more information about Decembeard or to sign up visit www.decembeard.org.au or to sponsor Daniel visit https://decembeard2016.everydayhero.com/au/daniel-2 

So if you think something isn’t right, talk to your doctor.

Me, My Beard and Why - Beards for Daniel

Daniel was a much-loved son, brother-in-law, husband, father and friend.

At the age of 29, he was diagnosed with Stage IV bowel cancer and endured years of chemo, surgery and medical procedures.

Daniel valued the work that Bowel Cancer Australia did in offering support for patients, promoting community awareness and supporting research for bowel cancer treatment, so he decided to participate in Decembeard and raise funds to beat bowel cancer.

Over 2 successive years, he raised over $24,000.

Three years after his diagnosis, chemotherapy and surgery that removed 70 per cent of his liver, Daniel’s cancer returned.

He sadly passed away in October 2016 at the age of 33, leaving behind a wife and a 3-month-old baby girl.

Daniel hoped that one day a cure would be found.

To continue Daniel’s work in raising awareness and funds to help beat bowel cancer, Daniel’s family and friends have created ‘Beards for Daniel’ and hope to match his fundraising efforts by growing beards and raising $24,000.

It's a big goal, but Daniel’s brother-in-law Adam and the rest of the team are hoping that with the support of others, they can do it.

For more information about Decembeard® or to sign up visit www.decembeard.org.au, or to sponsor ‘Beards for Daniel’ visit decembeard2016.everydayhero.com/au/beardsfordaniel.

Me, My Beard and Why - Anthony

I first heard about Decembeard® during December 2013, around 6 months after an event that was one of the hardest I’ve experienced in my life.

I work as an anatomical scientist, which means I spend my days facilitating cancer diagnosis for a living.

I see all kinds of things in my lab.

We deal with hundreds of thousands of cases every year – not all cancer diagnoses, but it does make up a fair chunk of our work.

Deano was one of my best mates.

In November 2012 he felt unwell and was complaining of a sore back, so he went to see his GP.

Deano was young and fit.

He played rep hockey, was recently married, dreamed of becoming a firefighter and was as healthy as any of us.

When they sent him for an MRI scan to see what was wrong with his back, it didn’t seem alarming.

What they found however was.

In his large bowel there was a tumour the size of his fist.

He was booked immediately for surgery, which was followed by chemotherapy.

When I was told about Dean’s diagnosis, I feared the situation was serious and I was overcome by a cold sick feeling.

But Dean, his new wife Abby, and his entire family remained optimistic.

A 26 year old doesn’t even get bowel cancer, right?


Dean and I had been so close – we were like brothers in many ways.

We had a tight group of mates who were there for each other.

As teens we were with each other all the time, but work and family and other things started to crowd our time, and eventually we all saw less and less of each other.

The guilt of not having made more time when we had it overwhelmed me.

The list of things I ‘should’ have done began to grow in my head.

As I watched Dean become weaker during his chemotherapy, I promised myself that I would be a better friend once this was all over with.

When he 'pulled through' I would visit him and his wife Abby more often.


But he didn’t get better.

Dean’s 3 month PET scan revealed that his cancer had spread beyond his bowel.

When I heard, I went straight to his place to see him and to try and encourage him.

But when I arrived, I didn’t know what to say.

Even though I spent my days in a lab where talking about cancer was business-as-usual, I didn’t know what to say.

“You’ll beat this Buddy!”

“If there’s anyone who can, it’s you!”

I didn’t believe what I was saying, but I hoped he would.

For the next month, I drove to the hospital every other night and talked with Dean about a big trip I was planning to Europe.

We reminisced about the good old days, talking about serious fun we’d had on the Sunshine Coast, surfing, going to parties, cruising in his old red Falcon.

On the night before I left for my long planned adventure, I hugged Dean and told him I’d see him when I returned.

As I walked to my car I cried.


The chemo stopped working and there was nothing more the doctors could do.

Dean’s wife called me in Europe to let me know.

I ached.

I was so far away.

He felt so close.

In response, I decided to take risks I wouldn't normally take.

I ran with the famous bulls of Pamplona in defiance of death and in defiance of what was happening to Dean.

He was the first person I texted when I completed the run.

From that point, I began texting Dean every day, sharing my antics with him as a way to stay close.

But he soon became so weak he could no longer read my words and his wife had to read them to him.

Dean and I spoke over the phone one last time before he died.

The pain medication caused him to slur his words so much I could hardly understand him over the phone, yet it was one of the most meaningful conversations of my life.

Dean passed away before I got back to Australia.


I received the news in a text.

I broke down and sobbed for what felt like hours.

My sister and I were able to attend Dean’s funeral via a Skype call and I broke down as I watched the boys carry his coffin out of the chapel, past the webcam.

When I returned, Dean’s closest family and friends gathered at Point Cartwright beach to scatter Dean’s ashes.

I still go there to remember Dean, our friendship and everything he meant to me.

And when people ask me why I got involved with Bowel Cancer Australia and Decembeard, I tell them I got involved because I remember Dean.

I’m passionate because I remember Dean and I want to make a difference because I remember Dean.

I hope you’ll join us this Decembeard® and help Bowel Cancer Australia to help save lives.

Click here to sponsor Antonio and Deano’s Bearded Stallions.

Me, My Beard and Why - Sam

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

With each donation, Decembeard supporter Sam offers a note of thanks and inspiration.

No wonder one of his supporters referred to him as the ‘Good Sam-aritan’.

Like the many other wonderful supporters of this year’s Decembeard Australia campaign, Sam is hoping to spread the word about the impact bowel cancer has on men of all ages - claiming the lives of over 2,300 husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, nephews and boyfriends in Australia every year.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit Sam’s Decembeard page, here are a few of the quotes he’s shared.

“No Act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

"People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel."

“We make a LIVING by WHAT WE GET, But We make a LIFE by WHAT WE GIVE."

If you’d like to support Sam in his efforts or find more words of encouragement, visit https://decembeard2016.everydayhero.com/au/sam-issac .

Me, Decembeard and Why - Jocelyn

My husband Michael was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May 2014, after returning home from an overseas business trip.

He had no energy and was very pale.

The doctor scheduled for him to undergo surgery in early June 2014, so we decided to go on a holiday to Thredbo beforehand, to spend some quality time together.

Michael and I enjoyed travelling, and skiing and we often didn’t do one without the other.

We enjoyed spending time with friends and family and we really liked to just do things together.

Our daughter Elke wasn’t even two when he was diagnosed, so we didn’t really speak to her about what was happening.

Michael’s first surgery was performed in Canberra.

They were unable to resect the tumour and so he was started on chemotherapy.

After the chemotherapy, Michael became very sick and was sent to hospital in Sydney to undergo another operation, where they were able to remove the tumour.

Michael was in Sydney for about five weeks and so our daughter was looked after by her grandmother.

We told her that Daddy was sick and that Mummy had to look after him.

She was able to come and see us a couple of times and I flew home one weekend to see her.

The whole situation was very difficult.

We just took one day at a time.

Elke was looked after by family or in childcare when she was unable to be with us.

After the surgery we decided to have another holiday together and we went to Port Douglas for a week.

Once we returned, Michael started chemo again.

About a month later, they discovered that the cancer had returned.

I bought a couple of canvases and we painted our 3 hand and foot prints onto them the day before Michael passed away.

I didn’t know it would be the last day we would spend together.

These canvases now hang in Elke’s bedroom.

Michael passed away from bowel cancer just over two years ago.

He was 32 years old.

Our beautiful daughter is now four years old.

She has to grow up without a father and it is heartbreaking, however I hope that by fundraising and raising awareness we will be able to find a cure and reduce the impact of this terrible disease in her lifetime.

I'm trying now to live life to the full as Michael's life was cut short and I think he would want Elke and me to enjoy life and experience as much as possible.

I continue to play soccer, which was something Michael also used to do.

I spend time with my friends and family and I travel for leisure.

Elke has also been learning to snow ski during winter for the last two years.

We also spend time with friends, going to activities in and around Canberra, and visiting family.

2016 is my second year participating in Decembeard.

Last year I crocheted a beard and exceeded my fundraising goal.

This year my main aim is to raise awareness about bowel cancer in honour of Michael.

I want people to understand that bowel cancer is not just an older person’s disease and that 90 percent of cases can be successfully treated if detected early.

I also want people to know what the symptoms can be.

Michael’s workplace, Callaghans Accounting and Financial Services have been fantastic at raising funds and awareness for Bowel Cancer Australia since Michael passed.

This year is the first year they are participating in Decembeard and I am a part of their team.

We’d love your support in helping to raise awareness and funds to beat bowel cancer.

To sign up or donate, visit https://decembeard2016.everydayhero.com/au/jocelyn 

Me, My Beard and Why - Dave

I want to start by saying that bowel cancer is a truly horrible disease which affects both men and women almost equally.

It is the second leading cancer killer behind lung cancer - but one of the most treatable IF DETECTED EARLY ENOUGH!

A few years ago my father had a close call with bowel cancer.

Luckily he was proactive about going to the doctor with his symptoms and it was caught early.

Initially treatment worked, but the cancer came back again twice - each time in his liver.

Thankfully, each time they caught it early enough and treatments have been successful.

However, my mate Dean was not so fortunate.

He lost his battle with bowel cancer on the 21st of July 2013.

Dean was only 26 years old.

In honour of him, our team "Deano's Bearded Stallions" was formed.

So my aim with this page is not only to raise much needed money, but also to raise much needed awareness in the hope that maybe another family, another friend - EVEN YOU, might be spared the havoc and heartbreak of this disease.

If something does not feel right - please do not dismiss it.

Do not put it off, because you are busy or embarrassed.

See your doctor immediately!

And please remember to donate if you can, big or small it all makes a difference.

Thank you for your support in helping to raise awareness and funds to beat bowel cancer.

If you’d like to donate, visit https://decembeard2016.everydayhero.com/au/pobar 

Me, My Beard and Why - Jamie

In April 2015, 5 weeks after my son was born, I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer.

My doctor misdiagnosed me saying I was too healthy and young to have cancer.

But because my son had just been born I thought it was best to go for a colonoscopy where they found a 4cm tumour in my rectum.

18 months later after 19 weeks of chemotherapy, 7 weeks of radiotherapy, 22 weeks with a colostomy bag and 2 surgeries, I feel better than ever.

After so many dark days I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever be able to feel this good.

So no matter how hard things may get, try and stay positive and focused, and hold on to hope.

You are all a reminder of how much good there is still left in the world.

I’m participating in Decembeard again this year to help Bowel Cancer Australia, who wonderfully helps others affected by this horrible disease.

Keep up the fantastic work everybody!

There’s still time to show your support in helping to raise awareness and funds to beat bowel cancer.

To donate, please visit https://decembeard.everydayhero.com/au/james-3 

Decembeard 2016 254x384 Sidebar Banner Supporters 2

Decembeard 2016 254x384 Sidebar Banner 2nd Biggest Stat

Decembeard Australia