Bowel Cancer Donation Supports Scotland

Tue 2nd April 2024

Last April, during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, the Foundation donated £25,000 to Bowel Cancer UK, our National Charity Partner last season, to fund a new Senior Services Officer for Scotland.

As a result, Derek McIlwraith was appointed to the post and has now been in position for some months.  We caught up with Derek to hear about how he is settling into the role at Bowel Cancer UK, the projects he has been working on and the difference the Foundation’s donation is making to lives across Scotland.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Scotland, with around 4,000 people diagnosed every year. The earlier the disease is spotted, the more treatable it’s likely to be.

Derek has already been working with NHS boards and connecting with their Clinical Nurse Specialists for Colorectal Cancer to identify priorities for them and their bowel cancer patients at a local level.   As a result, he has been able to offer them support in the form of enhanced professional education and patient community events.

“We are better able to meet the needs of people affected by bowel cancer in Scotland owing to the creation of this role,” Derek explained.

“We’ve seen an increase in NHS boards ordering resources to help support people with bowel cancer since the creation of this Scotland-specific role, and more of our awareness materials are being displayed across Scotland to help raise the public’s knowledge of the symptoms.

“Our National Colorectal Cancer Nurses Network has also had a significant increase in membership from Scotland, meaning we can reach and offer support to many more people affected by bowel cancer.”

Derek has developed closer working relationships between Bowel Cancer UK and other cancer charities such as Maggie’s and Macmillan Cancer Support, aiming to improve the cancer journey for patients. For example, Derek and the Bowel Cancer UK health education team have worked with CLAN Cancer Support and local clinical nurse specialists to secure a primary care education event that will take place later in 2024. This will provide health professionals with more information on how to improve treatment, care and support for people with bowel cancer.

“I have also been involved in raising awareness amongst members of the public,” he added. “I have organised awareness stalls in Glasgow and Dundee, reaching over 600 people in Scotland with vital health messages, and making more people who have been affected by bowel cancer aware of our support services. In the next two months, I have another seven stalls planned across Scotland.

“By getting out into communities and speaking openly about bowel cancer and its symptoms, we’re aiming to help more people feel comfortable talking about their bowel health and encourage them to take their screening test.

“Many bowel cancer patients feel it’s a cancer that no one likes to talk about, and we want to change that.”

“Everything that has been achieved is thanks to the help of the Rangers Charity Foundation and its supporters. Thank you so much!”

Bowel Cancer info poster

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