“If I can help prevent just one person going through what my Dad went through, it will be totally worth it.”

I’m not someone who usually does this sort of thing, but this cause is just too important to ignore. This month alone, around 250 New Zealanders will be diagnosed with bowel cancer, and 100 people will die. That’s 100 people who will die of a largely preventable disease.

Nearly four years ago, my Dad was one of those statistics. Dad was of that generation (a reserved, private man, an ex-farmer) who simply didn’t talk about those things. He knew things weren’t right – among other symptoms, he had been waking up with fluid in his chest/abdominal area every morning. He’d had tests on his heart and lungs, but for whatever the reason, the doctors hadn’t looked any further South.

Having being told he didn’t have cancer only a fortnight earlier, suddenly, we had a diagnosis – and it wasn’t good. The cancer was very advanced and Dad lasted three short weeks from diagnosis to death. He was 74 years young.

So I’m taking on the Move your Butt challenge to ensure that fewer families have to go through what we went through. I’ve been working with Bowel Cancer New Zealand (an amazing organisation) and I’ve been interviewing people affected by bowel cancer. One thing I’ve learnt is that bowel cancer can affect anyone – young, old, fit, unfit, healthy, unhealthy. In that regard, it’s a bit of a Russian roulette.

But another thing I’ve learned is that you can reduce your risk of getting it – by eating well, exercising regularly and above all, knowing the early symptoms. That’s why I’m doing 60 sit-ups a day during June – and my kids are doing it too. Hopefully it’ll help to reduce my personal risk of bowel cancer, but mainly I’m doing to raise funds to help Bowel Cancer New Zealand, spread the word about the symptoms, support those affected by bowel cancer and help fund much-needed research into treatments – and ultimately a cure.

A huge thanks to all those who’ve already sponsored my challenge … if you haven’t, every little bit helps. We’re nearly at the target of $50K but I’d love to help raise much more than that. Let’s beat bowel cancer once and for all!