Home » Local widower from Merthyr Tydfil raises awareness of bowel cancer in memory of his wife
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Local widower from Merthyr Tydfil raises awareness of bowel cancer in memory of his wife

Chris Daniel, aged 60 from Merthyr Tydfil, tragically lost his wife Rita, to bowel cancer, the second biggest cancer killer in Wales. He is now volunteering alongside Bowel Cancer UK on their Cardiff tour, which features a giant inflatable bowel, to help raise awareness of the disease and its symptoms. 

Chris and Rita met when they were both 17 and they were married for 33 years. Rita was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 after noticing some blood in her poo. Doctors discovered that it was a rare form of the cancer which had spread to her liver and lungs and was stage 4. A month after her diagnosis, Rita entered palliative care to help manage the disease whilst going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Rita survived four more years in which she made memories by travelling with Chris to Ireland and Norway. She also reached out to other bowel cancer patients, acting as a mentor to help them through their shared experiences.

In 2016 the cancer spread to her brain and Rita died in hospital. To help her family through their grief Rita had planned her funeral and even wrote her own eulogy for Chris to read. A few days after her death Chris found letters Rita had written for her loved ones when she was first diagnosed.

Chris has since committed himself to spreading awareness of bowel cancer symptoms and helping those affected by the disease through sharing his experience.

In November, Bowel Cancer UK is bringing their awareness roadshow to Cardiff and Chris will be there to support. They will be inviting Cardiff locals to walk inside a giant inflatable bowel to demonstrate the various stages of bowel cancer, raise awareness of its symptoms and the importance of taking part in screening. 

It’s also a chance for people to ask any questions or share any worries about bowel cancer, whether about themselves, a loved one or friend, to one of Bowel Cancer UK’s friendly and experienced staff and volunteers. There will also be a quiz to test people’s knowledge of bowel cancer symptoms, with the chance to enter a competition to win a year’s supply of Andrex® toilet roll.

Come and say hello to Chris or the other volunteers and walk through the giant inflatable bowel on:

  • Tuesday 21 November from 10am – 4pm outside Cardiff Central Library (St David’s, Hayes Place, CF10 1FL)
  • Wednesday 22 November from 10am – 4pm outside Capitol Shopping Centre (where Churchill Way meets Queen Street, CF10 2HQ)
  • Thursday 23 November from 10am – 4pm at Capital Shopping Park (Leckwith Rd, CF11 8EG)

Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive at Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We are so grateful to Chris for sharing his and Rita’s story to spread awareness of bowel cancer and its symptoms.

“We know that awareness of bowel cancer in Cardiff is quite low with nearly a quarter people living in the capital (23%) unaware of any of the symptoms of the disease. We hope our giant inflatable bowel is a fun way to break the ice and start having those lifesaving conversations. We’re here to welcome everyone to a tour of the giant inflatable bowel, answer any questions you have about your bowel health, and signpost you for further support. No appointment necessary. See you inside!”

For more information about Bowel Cancer UK’s roadshow, visit: www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/roadshows 

The Bowel Cancer UK’s roadshows are funded by the BowelBabe Fund.