Wednesday 19th June 2019
BCW Announces 'Kelly Stabb Award'
We are pleased to announce the establishment of a new annual award to fund projects specifically related to supporting young patients (those under 40) with and at risk of getting bowel cancer. ‘The Kelly Stabb Award’ is named after a young mother and police woman from Torbay who dedicated so much of her time to supporting our cause, despite being diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer.
Indications suggest that incidents of bowel cancer in young people are increasing. Currently, everyone over the age of 60 is sent a screening test every two years. Although the age will shortly be reduced to 50 but we question whether that that age is even young enough? We hear too many stories of people below the age of 40 being either misdiagnosed by their GP or ignoring the warning signs. Unfortunately, with younger people, bowel cancer can be more aggressive and easier to mask due to patients increased level of fitness.
We don’t yet know why incidents are increasing; whether it’s age, diet, lifestyle, misdiagnosis or even a different kind of cancer, but through further research, we certainly hope to find out more. By investing in ways to both improve patient support through research and further training for medical staff as well as playing a vital role in raising awareness across all generations not to ignore symptoms, we hope to make a significant impact on survival rates.
In 2017 during a charity event in Bristol, we were approached by a young police officer and mother of two from Torbay called Kelly. Alongside her husband Simon, Kelly was away for the weekend celebrating their wedding anniversary. Kelly had seen the charity banner and came rushing over to chat to us, full of positivity, enthusiasm and with a smile on her face, Kelly showed an immediate interest in our ‘Young Patients Appeal’, explaining to us that she was a young patient herself having been diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer at the age of 37.
From that moment on, supported by her community of family and friends, Kelly set about fundraising for Bowel Cancer West. In the space of a few months, Kelly single-handedly raised the entire amount required to reach our ‘Young Patients’ goal of £10,000 enabling BCW to fund research (currently underway) that is assessing incidents of colorectal cancer in young patients across the UK, with a specific focus on the southwest. But that didn’t stop Kelly who went on to raise nearly £40,000 in less than a year; organising balls, coffee mornings, sporting events, school fundraising days and through the support of local businesses. In that time, Kelly helped raise the profile of bowel cancer on a regional and national level. A truly remarkable effort given everything she was going through as well as supporting her two young boys, Jake and Luke.