Hockwold mother-of-two Laura Mackie set to take on five mile walk for Bowel Cancer UK to raise awareness of misdiagnosis
A Hockwold mother-of-two is taking on a sponsored walk and telling her story about bowel cancer in the hope of spreading awareness and helping others spot misdiagnosis.
Laura Mackie, of Peacock Close, is taking on Bowel Cancer UK's Walk Together five mile challenge in June between chemotherapy sessions after having an operation to remove her lower bowel in February.
The 40-year-old said it was a long and painful journey to get there and hopes her story may change the way bowel cancer is tested for by doctors.
She said; "It started in June last year, I was constipated and was given things that settled it down but it came back, so then I was told it could be IBS or that it could be stress related.
"I ended up in A&E and was given a scan and an x-ray, which did not show anything, and then in February I ended up stumbling into my doctor's surgery where they got me fully admitted to West Suffolk Hospital."
Laura, who owns her own interior design company - Creative Ideas - said the hospital was amazing, testing her for many things before a CT scan revealed a blockage in her bowel that they thought was cancerous and she was operated on that day, on February 25.
The procedure, called Hartmann's, removed her lower bowel and now Laura uses a stoma bag.
Laura said she was lucky that it was caught, but feels others may not be as fortunate as she feels bowel cancer is looked at as a '60 plus problem'.
She said: "Even the hospital said I was young for this type of cancer so it was not on their radar straight away - that needs to drastically change.
"All the stories I see about misdiagnosis have involved younger people, so I feel the age of screening also needs to be lowered."
Though the bowel was removed, one of the 27 lymph nodes taken with the procedure also showed cancer in it, so Laura is on a 12-week, four rounds, dose of chemotherapy as a precaution - which she says is knocking her for six - but still wants to do her walk around Hockwold and the surrounding villages.
She said: "Throughout this I have had the support of my family, including my 16-year-old son Lewis, six-year-old daughter Phoebe and my partner Paul, but some don't have that.
"I also want to give back to help with bowel cancer research and put something back in the pot from what I have had out of it. I am also hoping to raise a bit for Macmillan as well as I am having my chemotherapy at its unit at the hospital."
Laura has set up a fund-raising page for the walk and said she is overwhelmed by the response, with it already having £900 in donations.
She said: "My target was to reach £100, but this is brilliant. I am just grateful to everyone that has donated whatever they can and dipped into their pockets for this, it means a lot."
To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lauramackie22