A Givealittle page has been created to help Kāpiti College canteen manager Craig Gutry, who has terminal bowel cancer, fulfil his bucket list.

It has been a tough time for the 55 year old since he started to feel unwell.

His illness also came at a time when his wife Jennie, 54, suffered the same cancer.

Jennie's cancer is in remission but Craig's outlook isn't good.


Early last year Craig found it difficult trying to pass proper motions.

"He described it as having a red hot poker up his bottom," Jennie said.

She said Craig went to a doctor in Paraparaumu who didn't think it was sinister but referred him on for further investigation, and a stool sample came back pinpointing blood.

Craig Gutry.
Craig Gutry.

It took about four months to get an appointment with a specialist, who also didn't think there was anything sinister, she said.

But by that time Craig was in agony and on painkillers the whole time.

He was finding it hard to drive to and from work, difficulty in sitting and standing, his stomach was getting bigger, and his testicles were swollen.

And then it took two more months before he got an appointment for a colonoscopy.

But on Christmas Day he was in too much pain so Jennie drove him from their Foxton home to Palmerston North Hospital.


"He just thought everything was going to explode.

"He kept saying 'I feel like something is stuck there'."

He was seen after a long wait, but again nothing sinister was mentioned, Jennie said, and he was sent home with laxatives.

When a colonoscopy was performed it revealed a tumour "so big they couldn't get the scope through".

Craig needed surgery quickly which happened some days later but there was "trouble getting it [tumour] out because it was so big".

"It was completely inoperable," she said.

A CAT scan revealed the bowel cancer had spread to other parts of his body, including liver and lungs.

"There's no fixing it.

"All he can have is chemotherapy to keep him going a bit longer.

"Surgeons created a stoma [a hole in the abdomen connected to a pouch to collect faeces] but it's not working properly and his stomach has got bigger.

"He's been in terrible agony and he's such a stoic guy."

Craig isn't expected to start chemo for two months because he has to recover from the stoma operation.

Jennie was also recovering from bowel cancer at the same time Craig started feeling unwell.

She had been feeling tired, was having problems eating and there had been blood in her stools for about three months.

"I tried to dismiss it as not being relevant."

A doctor in Palmerston North sought a stool sample which was suspicious, so a colonoscopy was performed revealing she had stage two bowel cancer.

Within a short time, under private health care, her tumour was removed and tests have showed the cancer hasn't spread.

She wishes Craig's cancer had been discovered earlier.

"His might not have spread if they had picked it up at the same time as they picked mine up.

"He might not be looking at terminal cancer."

She said Craig had family history of bowel cancer with his uncle having it about 20 years ago.

"So he was such a prime suspect for it really."

People needed to insist on having health checks when something was wrong with them, she said.

"As soon as you notice any changes in your bowel movements, go and get it tested, and don't accept that it's nothing sinister.

"They can't tell that without a colonoscopy.

"We don't have automatic bowel screening for people over 50 years old - but it should be."

Funds from the Givealittle page will help Craig fulfil his bucket list and the expected associated costs of his illness.

He wants to go to the Elton John concert at Mission Estate Winery next year [but hasn't managed to secure tickets], go sailing, deep sea fishing, take a trip on the Overlander train, and go back to Fiji where he was married to Jennie, but most of all spend time with family.