Jenny’s Kokoda bound again
JENNY Churchill is trekking the Kokoda Track again to raise awareness of bowel cancer.
The Kilcunda resident is the arts and leisure manager with Bass Coast Shire Council and is a well known figure in the Wonthaggi and Kilcunda communities.
She first trekked the Kokoda Track in 2009, after recovering from major bowel cancer surgery. She went with her brother Wayne and nephew Trent and raised $9000 for the Cancer Council. The money was used as a bursary for bowel cancer gene research.
This time Jenny is not raising funds, but awareness.
In 2010, Jenny underwent another major operation and chemotherapy to remove a secondary cancer in her left lung.
“I was very lucky,” she said. “It was my last regular CT scan at the three year mark, and it showed up a small tumour in my lung.”
She wants to make the trek again to celebrate another chance at making every opportunity count.
Jenny said bowel cancer is the second highest cause of cancer in Victoria and in 2010, more than 3500 Victorians were diagnosed with the disease and 1330 died as a result.
“But there is good news, if detected early, bowel cancer is one of the most curable of all cancers.”
This time Jenny is not asking for money, but for your time.
She said many people know her either through her 35 years as a council officer in Wonthaggi, as a performer with the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group, or through her sporting prowess in tennis and netball.
She has a simple statement: “I am asking anyone who knows me to ask their doctor, ‘Should I have a bowel cancer test?’” She is hoping that as many people as possible will take up her challenge.
Since her initial diagnosis, Jenny said she is amazed at the number of people that she knows who have a loved one or friend who has been diagnosed with bowel cancer.
In Bass Coast and South Gippsland shires between 2005 and 2009, there were 61 new cases of bowel cancer, second only to prostate cancer which was the highest.
“That statistic should be enough to make you take up the challenge,” Jenny said.
So, if you know her, then ask your doctor, “Should I have a bowel cancer test?”
“You never know, it could save your life.”
Jenny heads off in September with Tony Quinlan of TQ Trekking to walk the track in this, the 70th year commemorating the Kokoda campaign.
A highlight of her 2009 trip – apart from finishing the trek – was meeting Ovuru Ndiki, the oldest surviving Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, aged 103. The name was given to those Papuan natives who risked their lives assisting Australian troops in their nightmare negotiation of the muddy, slippery jungle track.
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