Leigh’s tip for cancer: Don’t let it rule your life

PEOPLE confronting a long and often frightening fight to beat cancer should seek out Leigh Bowman at the Shoalhaven Nowra Relay for Life next month.

Mr Bowman is a prostate cancer survivor who does anything he can to support people and the Cancer Council relay.

The Sussex Inlet resident has a simple but strong message: “Don’t let cancer rule your life”.

He urged people to live their lives to the fullest and said thinking about the disease all the time was not helpful.

Mr Bowman was so busy with his numerous volunteer roles and helping people in general he even forgot he once had cancer.

He was at the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital with a sick friend and walked past a member of the physiotherapy staff, who asked how his fight with the disease was going.

“I said, ‘What disease?’ because I had totally forgotten I had cancer,” he said.

He said he loved meeting new people and hoped to make more friends at the upcoming relay.

“[The relay] is just incredible,” he said.

The local relay will be held at the Nowra Showground on the weekend of March 29-30 to honour people who have been touched by cancer. 

The 24-hour event is designed to celebrate life and create hope by joining friends, family, cancer survivors and their carers in the common goal of defeating cancer. 

Visit relayforlife.org.au or call the Cancer Council on 4223 0200 for more information.

Mr Bowman said if people couldn’t make it to the relay there was another way they could help fight cancer.

“I urge people who have some spare time to consider being a volunteer,” he said.

Mr Bowman is a long-time bus driver with the Shoalhaven Transport Service and drove many cancer sufferers up to Wollongong for treatment over the years.

The volunteer bus driver said money raised at the local relay played an important role in keeping the bus on the road.

“Funding for the bus needs to come from somewhere,” he said.

Statistics racked up by the bus service make impressive reading.

The service has been operating for 21 years, 2419 patients have been taken to approximately 31,794 treatments or appointments and the total kilometres travelled is a whopping 918,893 – with the million kilometre mark soon to be clocked up.

Volunteers like Mr Bowman do a great job and have contributed over 25,109 hours of service.

The bus will soon be starting its new role driving cancer patients from as far south as Batemans Bay up to the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre in Nowra for treatment.

Mr Bowman is training for a volunteer role at the centre.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men in NSW. Prostate cancer in the Shoalhaven has an incidence of 129 new cases per year. Most prostate cancers occur in men over 65 – and most are not life-threatening.

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