My name is Pam Baird, I live in Little River a small community on Banks Peninsula. My partner Kaite died in 2014 from bowel cancer.

She had no symptoms except profound, overwhelming tiredness. After 18 months of Doctors visits Kaite was referred to a Specialist Physician who arranged a CT scan to ‘rule out cancer.’

Devastatingly the scan showed 4th stage bowel cancer which had metastasised into her liver, inoperable and terminal. She opted not to have chemotherapy and died 10 months later.

I was recently sent a free faecal test by the Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust which unfortunately showed blood in the sample.

Immediately alarm bells rang and I paid a visit to my GP to request a colonoscopy. This was denied even though my mother had rectal cancer at age 50 and I have had a polyp removed previously. I am also within the qualifying age for free bowel screening within my DHB although this does not come into effect until 2020 in Canterbury.

I contacted Georgina Mason, CEO of the Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust, to ask for advice. She immediately arranged a colonoscopy through a private provider in Christchurch.

To my immense relief the colonoscopy showed no abnormalities.

This procedure could have potentially saved my life if cancer had been detected in the early stages.

I can’t thank Georgina Mason of the Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust enough for acting on my behalf and all the amazing work she is doing with the Trust.

Learn more about bowel screening, to be sent a free home bowel screening kit, contact us.

If you have a story to share about bowel screening in NZ please send to our CEO. Email Georgina at