Bowel Cancer UK is running Be Behind It, a new campaign to raise awareness of bowel cancer amongst younger people, in partnership with the friends and families of two young women, Tamar Bailey and Hayley Newbury, who both died, aged 26, of bowel cancer in 2006. The campaign was part of the charity’s activities during April’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. The focal point of Be Behind It is an eye catching photograph by fashion photographer John Sanders of 23 women aged between 20 and 34, who have all been touched, either directly or indirectly, by bowel cancer and who all took part in the photo shoot free of charge.
The Be Behind It campaign (www.BeBehindit.com) was the idea of Natalie Legg, who was motivated to act after the tragic death of her close friend Tamar Bailey from bowel cancer aged 26. It encourages younger people to recognise the early signs of the disease and to visit their GPs if they have any concerns. The campaign also seeks to empower this more health-conscious generation to communicate key messages to their friends, parents, grandparents and other older relatives, who may also be at risk; to encourage them to be more aware and to act on their symptoms; and, where relevant, to take part in the screening programme for the disease, which is currently rolling out across the UK.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube
This is the first time Bowel Cancer UK has specifically targeted the under-40s and follows an increasing number of calls to its nurse-run Advisory Service from younger people diagnosed with or worried about the disease. In support of the campaign and funded by the Tamar Bailey Fund, the charity has commissioned a survey of 6000 clinicians, to find out if they are treating younger patients more. The results of the survey – the first of its kind in the UK – will be published in May.
Natalie Legg, who organised the photo shoot and was also one of the models, says: Tamar was repeatedly misdiagnosed because she was considered too young to have the disease and by the time bowel cancer was identified, it was too late to help her. Her life could have been saved if only she’d been diagnosed sooner and it’s a terrible tragedy to lose such a wonderful person who had so much to look forward to. “I feel passionately that more young people should be aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer, so that more lives can be saved, which is why this campaign is so important. So, if you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed – see your GP as soon as possible.”
Salpi Bailey, Tamar’s sister, who also modelled in the photoshoot, says: “Losing Tamar at just 26 has been devastating for my family. She had everything to live for; a successful career, beautiful house and loving boyfriend. We never thought this could happen to someone who had so much life ahead of her. It is so important to stop this tragedy happening to other families by raising awareness of the disease in young people”.
Only a month before Tamar’s death, in May 2006, mother-of-three Hayley Newbury also died of the disease. She was also only 26 years old. Christian Newbury, Hayley’s husband, says: “I’m delighted to support this campaign and know how much Hayley would have supported it too. She was passionate about raising awareness of bowel cancer, to help ensure that other people, including other young people, didn’t go through what she went through. I wish all those involved every success and hope many people will be helped by it”.
Ian Beaumont, Director of Press, PR and Public Affairs at Bowel Cancer UK, says: “For many years it’s been widely and wrongly believed that younger people can’t get bowel cancer, which has had a negative impact on those with symptoms and the disease. We are delighted, therefore, to support the Be Behind It campaign and to encourage younger people to be more aware of the disease both for themselves and for their older relatives. We also hope that our comprehensive survey of 6000 clinicians will help us find out what the situation is regarding this issue from those who are best placed to tell us.”
Hair was groomed by Siobhan Montague, Holly Yexley, Nathan Jasztal and Jenny Nicols. Make up was provided by Zoe Tarling and Laura Hoffman. Photography and design were provided by photographer John Sanders, Spring Studios film director Dave Slade, and Breathe Design. Underwear was provided by Sloggi.