Survivor Jimmy spreads message

Motherwell man Jimmy Donnelly, far right, with fellow bowel cancer survivors, left to right, David Waters, Mari Hamilton and Margaret Snelling.
Motherwell man Jimmy Donnelly, far right, with fellow bowel cancer survivors, left to right, David Waters, Mari Hamilton and Margaret Snelling.

A Motherwell man who survived bowel cancer is helping lead a campaign to encourage screening and early detection of the disease.

Jimmy Donnelly, a 61-year-old grandfather, is one of six Bowel Cancer Champions who have been trained by NHS Lanarkshire specialists to give information to the public. They are handing out leaflets to people at public events and locations across Lanarkshire.

Just 54.5 per cent of those who are eligible to participate in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme every two years actually take the test, yet nine out of 10 people survive the disease if it’s detected early.

The Lanarkshire figure is even lower - 47.7 per cent - and Jennifer Darnborough, consultant in public health, said: “The champions will be helping us get the message across that if you get an invitation for bowel cancer screening, please act on it.”

Mr Donnelly discovered he had bowel cancer in August 2012 after experiencing some bleeding. Just nine weeks later he had the tumour removed and was on the road to recovery.

Mr Donnelly said: “I was lucky as it was caught very early so the cancer was quite simple to deal with. I didn’t need to have any follow-up treatment and it was all over with within nine weeks from diagnosis to treatment.

“When I first discovered I had cancer I was devastated. I feel very differently now. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it could have been very different if I had ignored the symptoms.

“As Bowel Cancer Champions, we’re all volunteers who want to help people realise how important it is to go to your doctor with symptoms you think could be bowel cancer. If I can help just one person to seek help or to take the test then it’s worth it.”

For information on the screening programme call 0800 0121 833 or visit Bowel Screening Test