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The legacy of two brave kiwis

This time last year the Cottonsoft team was ramping up efforts to raise awareness and promote conversation about bowel cancer through our Christmas-themed ‘I Give A Crap’ campaign. We were thrilled by the enthusiastic response from thousands of New Zealanders and by evidence this year that the disease, the most common cancer in New Zealand and the second most deadly, is being recognized at a government and consumer level as the serious threat it is. We are proud to support Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa and its mission to introduce a national bowel cancer screening programme and increase early detection and survival rates.

I would like to acknowledge two important Kiwis, both advocates for the work of BBCA and the health of New Zealanders, who recently passed away from bowel cancer. Dr Jared Noel, who died this month at the age of 33, was a remarkable man who earned the admiration of many for his courage and fortitude in the face of the disease, which was diagnosed when he was only 27. Jared’s great wish was to see the birth of his child, and he and his wife welcomed a daughter in January while he was in the midst of an advanced drug treatment that prolonged his life.

Another young parent, Vivian Waller, died at Hibiscus Hospice in late September surrounded by her family. She was just 21, and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bowel cancer earlier this year.

Both Jared and Vivian serve as inspiration to the thousands of people who have been personally affected by cancer and who are striving to ensure that more New Zealand families every year are spared the grief and pain caused by bowel cancer, which is in many cases highly curable if caught early.

We at Cottonsoft are doing our part to improve the statistics, and next month three of us are fundraising by taking part in the Auckland Half-Marathon, for which BBCA is a golden charity. We are so grateful for your support. Please help us keep the conversation going.

To learn about bowel cancer and the work of BBCA, visit www.beatbowelcancer.org.nz.