Ravenshead parents who lost 26-year-old daughter to cancer awarded for charity efforts

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A couple from Ravenshead have been recognised from a cancer charity after raising £35,000 in memory of their daughter.

Debbie and Alastair Gamage picked up an ‘Achievement Award’ from the charity Beating Bowel Cancer at their annual London Patient Day in the capital.

Taking places at the Royal College of Surgeons, the day is dedicated to bowel cancer patients and their families, who come together to hear the latest developments in the disease, attend workshops and meet others in similar situations.

Debbie and Alastair lost their daughter Hannah to bowel cancer in March 2014 aged just 26.

Hannah was a primary school teacher and died just 96 days after being diagnosed.

Debbie and Alastair were presented with their award by the charity’s patron, actress and TV presenter, Baroness Floella Benjamin.

Beating Bowel Cancer’s community fundraiser, Leanne Sinclair said: “Debbie and Alastair have been amazingly selfless. After such a terrible loss, they have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the disease and funds for the charity in order to help other bowel cancer patients and families.

“They really are an inspirational couple and truly deserve this award for all their determination to raise the profile of the disease.

“We can’t thank them enough.”

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.

Each year more than 41,000 people are diagnosed with the disease, but if caught early, more than 90 per cent of cases can be treated successfully.

Hannah’s parents insist more work is needed to diagnosis bowel cancer earlier.

Debbie said: “Hannah had been very ill for some time and I had been extremely worried about her but she wasn’t diagnosed until it was too late to do anything.

“Too many young people are still being diagnosed too late and this needs to change. It’s so important because this disease is so treatable when it is caught early.

“We want to share Hannah’s story as much as possible to get the message out there.

“We will never know if Hannah’s cancer could have been treated if detected earlier, but we do know that whatever your age, 97 per cent of those diagnosed at an early stage survive for five years or more, compared with only seven per cent at a late stage.

“Early diagnosis therefore is crucial in saving lives.”

Anyone with queries or concerns about bowel cancer, can visit beatingbowelcancer.org