A Kihikihi man recently diagnosed with bowel cancer is urging those who may be showing symptoms to get off their butt, take it seriously and see a doctor.
Graeme Muir, 55, has faced a lot of challenges during his life – he survived an IRA bomb in 1996 in Manchester, he survived the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, he survived two major heart attacks, he nearly drowned twice and he and his wife Marie faced tough fertility issues.
But no amount of resilience can deter the worry he has knowing the statistics of bowel cancer in New Zealand.
Every day, on average, eight kiwis will be diagnosed with bowel cancer and three people will die from it.
"People need to start realising that the second highest cause of death from cancer is bowel cancer and people need to start recognising that they need to do something about it," says Graeme.
To raise awareness, Graeme and Marie are participating in Bowel Cancer New Zealand's fundraising campaign Move Your Butt, this month which challenges people to move more.
Each day they are aiming to do 30 minutes of exercise and to do more than 10,000 steps.
One of the ways they are doing this is by walking their 9-year-old chocolate labrador, Kohe.
"My biggest hope is getting the awareness out there," says Graeme.
The organisation is aiming to raise $150,000 towards patient support services, physio rehabilitation and counselling programmes.
At the time of publishing, they had raised $116,370.
Graeme and Marie set themselves a fundraising goal of $1000 but have already exceeded this with half a month of campaigning and fundraising to go.
Because of his illness, Graeme, who is a mortgage consultant, now has to work from home and he's had to give up five-a-side football.
"I'm football mad; I'm from Manchester – I'm a Manchester City fan, football runs in my blood," says Graeme.
He has started chemotherapy and has a long road ahead of him. He will undergo chemotherapy for three months followed by radiotherapy treatment, and then a stoma bag will be inserted before he undergoes further chemotherapy.
Marie, who worked within the early learning industry, has also had to stop working as childcare centres are a breeding ground for bugs and would put Graeme at risk.
Life has changed a lot for Graeme and Marie, but he says he was lucky in his diagnosis after being put on a list to have regular colonoscopies after having issues years ago.
"I had my reminder to get my colonoscopy and I was really thinking I could do without this," says Graeme.
"But I went and I was very lucky I did.
"I was lying there and the nurse and doctor had gone pale and told me they've got some bad news. It was quite a shock at the time."
His advice for everyone is to have life and trauma cover insurance in place, make healthier choices, to not hesitate in going to see a doctor if you feel you have an issue and to push to get a colonoscopy if you experience bowel discomfort.
"In New Zealand it's always, it'll be alright. Well it's not actually because you can't be insured once you've got an illness," says Graeme.
You can follow Graeme and Marie's campaign journey, and donate to it, on the Bowel Cancer New Zealand's Move Your Butt Grassrootz website by searching "Team Muir Kicks Butt".
On this page they are updating their fundraising efforts and posting about their daily exercises and about Graeme's treatment journey.