Award for ‘inspirational’ cancer survivor from Tipton St John

Mary Bray (centre) was presented with a national award for her work with Beating Bowel Cancer

Mary Bray (centre) was presented with a national award for her work with Beating Bowel Cancer - Credit: Archant

Mary’s work to help beat UK’s second biggest cancer killer receives national recognition

An ‘amazing’ cancer survivor from Tipton St John has received national recognition for her work in raising awareness of the disease.

Mary Bray, 67, was presented with an Achievement Award by Beating Bowel Cancer at an annual day dedicated to patients, survivors and their families on Saturday.

She is described as an ‘inspiration’ for her dedication to the charity as one of its longest-serving online moderators.

Mary was diagnosed with the disease - the UK’s second biggest cancer killer - in 2008 at the age of 60.

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She underwent surgery and chemotherapy, but two years later suffered a recurrence in her liver and had to have part of it removed.

In 2013, Mary featured on the front page of the Herald when she spoke out publicly as part of a campaign organised by Beating Bowel Cancer to talk openly about a topic - seen as ‘one of the last cancer taboos’.

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She was presented with the award by the charity’s patron, actress and television presenter, Baroness Floella Benjamin.

Mary said: “I am very pleased to receive this award and to be able to play a part in the work that Beating Bowel Cancer is doing to raise awareness of this disease. As a retired physiotherapist, my work in the field of women’s health has given me experience of dealing with patients with sensitive or embarrassing issues, and a lot of people with symptoms of bowel cancer fall into this group.”

The charity’s online forum provides a platform for anyone affected by bowel cancer to come together to chat and get information about the disease from others in similar situations.

Mary said it is invaluable in providing help for many people, young and old, who can discuss their problems and concerns, and offering support to those undergoing treatment and beyond.

Elspeth Massey, of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “Mary is amazing. Being a moderator can be a rewarding but time-consuming job and she does it - at all hours of the day and night - with such respect and sensitivity.

“She has also helped us over the years to raise awareness of the disease by sharing her story.

“Mary really is an inspiration and truly deserves this award for all her selfless work on the forum.”

The charity states that each year more than 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, but if caught early, more than 90 per cent of cases can be treated successfully.

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