“My name is Toby and I’m 29. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer in October 2014. Prior to my diagnosis, I was a very active and healthy person – I enjoyed running and hitting the gym, I never smoked and drank only on occasion. There was also no history of rectal cancer in my family – so the diagnosis came as quite a shock.
Since then I have received multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as some major operations so doctors could remove the cancer, create a temporary ileostomy, and then reverse it.
I’m currently recovering from the reversal surgery and getting used to my new “plumbing.” I will still need to go to follow-up appointments every three months or so but fortunately I was given the all clear late last year.
A couple of months before I was diagnosed I started growing a beard. Once everybody got over the initial shock of my diagnosis, questions began turning to my beard and when I was going to shave it.
My beard had become a comfort for me through all of this, so if I was going to shave – it had to be for a good reason! I started thinking about the idea of shaving it off for charity and because I received so much support, I felt that I should do something to give back.
Cancer is too common and this has become even more obvious since I was diagnosed. Almost everyone I meet has a story of someone close to them who has been affected by cancer. I feel like I am one of the lucky ones and I wanted something good to come from my experience.
On Australia day, I’ll be holding a celebration and shaving ceremony at our local bowls club. I’ll be putting on a big barbeque to say thank you to all my friends and family who supported me and donated to my cause. I’ll also be raffling off some great prizes from generous local businesses, as well as the honour of who will get to make the first cut of the shave!
I really hope that someday, no one will have to go through what I and so many others have been through. Finding a cure or a gentler form of treatment is the ultimate goal and that is why I decided to support the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.
Every little bit helps to bring us closer to finding a cure or developing better treatments that will make it easier on those diagnosed, and their family.” – ACRF Supporter, Toby Stodart.
To support Toby’s Beard Shave for Cancer, click here.