Barbara Hibbert, 61 from Harrogate is at the heart of a powerful portrait series for Bowel Cancer UK’s national campaign, to mark Bowel Cancer Awareness Month this April.
Bowel Cancer UK worked with photographer, Sophie Mayanne, on the portraits to launch the charity’s campaign, which aims to shine a light on the varied and many people affected by bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with almost 42,000 people diagnosed. More than 16,000 people die each year of the disease making it the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, but it shouldn’t be as bowel cancer is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.
Although the disease is more common in the over 50s, it can affect people of all ages. More than 2,500 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year.
Barbara was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2014, after putting off seeing her GP even though she experienced symptoms of the disease. Barbara has undergone bowel surgery and lost her hair as a result of chemotherapy, which is quite rare for people with bowel cancer.
Barbara Hibbert said:
I want to show that a stage 4, doesn’t mean that you stop living – you just have to live faster because you have less time! A terminal diagnosis isn’t a good thing to receive, but it does give you time to prepare and to make the most of the time you have left.
I put off getting my symptoms checked and that delay meant that when my cancer was found it was already severe. It’s very easy to persuade yourself that you shouldn’t bother the busy doctor or be one of the ‘worried well’ clogging up the surgery, but it’s so important to get yourself checked, even if you are overweight, drink too much, don’t take much exercise and are menopausal – all excuses for not taking action in my case!
Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK said:
These incredible images is a beautiful homage to those affected by bowel cancer. Young, old, female or male – it can affect us all.
Around 268,000 people living in the UK today have been diagnosed with bowel cancer. But it doesn’t just impact the person with the disease. It touches their families, friends and colleagues, doctors and nurses, scientists and researchers.
That’s millions of people right across the UK. We need more people affected by bowel cancer to come together and take action to create a future where nobody dies of this disease.