PAUL Stanfield’s world came to a standstill when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer three years ago.
But the former Cheltenham cafe owner, who is now on the road to recovery, wants to put his experiences to good use.
The 62-year-old from Benhall has taken on the role as regional co-ordinator for the charity Bowel & Cancer Research.
The former Cheltenham College pupil, who went on to become a lawyer, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2011.
He said: “I went to my GP in January, and had an operation in April. Then came chemotherapy, and now I’m in remission. It was a difficult time, but I was lucky.
“There is a stigma attached to bowel disease and people don’t want to talk about it.
“But silence can mean the difference between life and death. The earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chance that something can be done about it.”
Paul, a former Cheltenham College pupil, who went on to become a lawyer changed careers in 1989 and bought Le Café at the Royal Well bus station, where he spent 18 years dishing up bacon butties and running an outside catering company.
By the time of his diagnose he was working as a mortgage account manager for Chelsea Building Society.
He urged people not to ignore the symptoms, such as a change in bowel habits and blood in stools.
“I took the job because I know how lucky I’ve been to have had bowel cancer and survived,” he said.
“I’m passionate about bringing awareness of the disease to a wider audience, and I’m keen to be associated with research which will improve surgical procedures so that fewer people have to live with a permanent stoma.
“It’s a small charity which achieves big things. I’m proud to be associated with the team who care passionately about a cause which means a lot to me personally.”
He is the charity’s first regional appointment and will operate in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the West Midlands.
Bowel & Cancer Research was founded in 1990 and funds research into bowel disorders such as Crohn’s, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as cancer.
Bowel cancer kills one person every 30 minutes, 40,000 people are diagnosed in the UK with it every year, and 100,000 live with a permanent stoma.
The charity’s chief executive, Deborah Gilbert, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Paul to the team, primarily because he is part of the growing number of people who come through bowel cancer, and that’s good news for him and his family.
“As the charity’s first ‘man in the field’, we hope he can increase Bowel & Cancer Research’s profile and help us fund more vital research.”
For more information about the charity log on to www.bowelcancerresearch.org.