Sometimes, this whole cancer nonsense makes me want to curl up in a ball and sleep until high summer. It’s relentless, draining and I most certainly do not get enough sleep due to my tiny people for the energy needed to face the day. Most days, I rely on my morning 3 shot of coffee in a mug the size of my head and listening to Oprah’s podcast to get me focused and positive but on others, I just have to look around at the people who are working close by.

Lauren Backler is an incredible young woman who makes me want to get up in the morning and make a difference. Her mum died of bowel cancer at the age of 56 and like Greg, was misdiagnosed and eventually told in A&E that she had inoperable stage 4 cancer. Tragically, she died after only three months after this prognosis.

Only a month after her mum’s death, Lauren started researching the disease and found discrepancies in the screening ages across the UK. In England, the screening process begins at 60 while in Scotland, the tests are sent to those over 50. Lauren realised that if they had lived in Scotland, her mum would have been screened for the disease three times before the age she was eventually diagnosed. Bowel cancer is curable if detected in its early stages, imagine how many lives could have been saved in that ten year age bracket? Lauren started a petition to lower the age of screening in the UK in alignment with Scotland. The petition received 418,000 signatures and working with Bowel Cancer UK, the law was finally changed after three years of hard work and dedication.

While grieving for the avoidable death of her mum, Lauren changed the landscape of bowel cancer care and in the process has saved so many peoples lives. This is an absolute inspiration to me and gives me the momentum to keep talking about this disease. There will never be one cure for cancer but early detection will help eradicate later stage diagnosis.

I want to say an enormous thank you to Lauren and all at Bowel Cancer UK for such important work and giving hope to others. You give me the strength to keep going and that is invaluable on these cold winter mornings when my bed is calling me.

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* Stacey Heale has left her career as a fashion lecturer to focus on her two lively little girls and husband, Delays frontman Greg Gilbert, who was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in November 2016. She launched the viral campaign Give4Greg to raise funds for lifesaving treatment: You can read more at her blog,