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"I am passionate about what I believe in. I believe in a cancer-free future. I believe we will win."
My cancer journey began in 1943. Over the years I have lost many close family members to cancer, including my parents, two brothers, uncle and mother-in-law. My 14-year-old grandson is currently undergoing treatment for lymphatic cancer and my brother-in-law for bladder cancer.
I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in March 2012. This came about as the result of regular bowel screening and annual medical check-ups, which I firmly believe every person should consider as a regular part of their lifestyle.
I began a week of radiation treatment in May, followed by post anterior resection surgery in June, which removed the tumour and 32cm of my large colon. During this time my wife Maureen and I were privileged to stay at Gluyas Rotary Lodge in Townsville, where the Cancer Council offers free accommodation and transportation for cancer patients and carers during their treatment, and also provides support and activities for guests.
My surgery left me with a colostomy device which was to be removed with reversal surgery within three months. However I still had it 18 months later, and for some reason I was never able to find a pair of shoes to match my “bag”.
My surgery was followed by a 26-week course of chemotherapy, but after five weeks of treatment, complications resulted in my deciding to discontinue the chemotherapy. In December 2013 I underwent stoma reversal surgery in Townsville to reconnect my bowel after persevering with the colostomy device for 18 months, once again taking advantage of Gluyas Rotary Lodge accommodation.
I am now cancer-free and having regular blood tests and scans to check for any reoccurrence or signs of cancer.
Prior to my diagnosis, my wife Maureen and I were passionate Relayers, having first joined a team in 2010. We are both now active volunteers and I am also a Cancer Council Queensland Champion. I had the honour of being The Face of Relay for the Whitsunday Relay For Life in 2014 and I’m member of the organising committee involved in promoting cancer awareness and raising the necessary funds to fight it.
Why am I involved with Relay for Life and Cancer Council Queensland? Because I am passionate about what I believe in. I believe in fighting for a cure. I believe in creating cancer awareness in others. I believe in helping to raise the necessary funds to provide accommodation and treatment for others like myself who walk the cancer journey. I believe in a cancer-free future.
And finally, I believe we will win.
[Pictured above is the Mad Hatters Team at the 2014 Whitsundays Relay: (from left) Ivan and Maureen's daughter Tracey, their granddaughter Ariann, Ivan, Maureen, their granddaughter Mira and their close friend Kara.]