'It strikes indiscriminately': Gavin's bearded tribute to his brother

 Start a conversation: Gavin Playford. Picture: April Josie Photography
Start a conversation: Gavin Playford. Picture: April Josie Photography

This is a story about two Bs.

The first 'B' is the beard of Fairfield East resident Gavin Playford. Specifically, what the beard represents.

The 54-year-old is taking part in Bowel Cancer Australia's annual Decembeard campaign which encourages men to grow a beard to raise awareness and funds to beat bowel cancer.

Mr Playford already had a beard so that part was easy. The hard part relates to the second 'B' - bowel cancer and the need for more research to stop affecting the lives like the person Gavin describes as "greatest living man on earth."

Gavin's brother Rohan was diagnosed with bowel cancer eight years ago at the age of 50. More than 8000 Australian men are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and around 560 of those men are under the age of 50.

Eight operations later and it seems Rohan 's life span will be cut short because of the disease which has spread to his spread lungs, kidney and liver.

Did you know...1 in 11 Australian men will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime and kills more than 2900 men each year. Bowel cancer is the third deadliest cancer in men and affects men of all ages.

Source: Bowel Cancer Australia

Gavin said bowel cancer is an "indiscriminate sort of disease."

"I actually feel guilty because I haven't led a very stringent lifestyle and pushed the envelope at every opportunity while Rohan always looked after himself. He was an army man and fairly fit. It pains me that such injustice can exist," he said.

"We need more research into bowel cancer so we can end it and stop killing people. Research needs money."

Gavin, who has previously participated in Dry July and Movember, is hoping to raise $3000 for the cause. More than that he is hoping to raise awareness about bowel cancer which is the third deadliest cancer in men.

"The unfortunate thing is cancer is called by the body part where you first get it... bowel cancer or lung cancer or breast cancer - but cancer has riddled Rohan's body, it just started in the bowel. And because we name them after these specific body parts, bowel cancer would have to rate as the least fanciful. No one really wants to talk about your orifice and as a result it is very difficult to attract support and start conversations," he said.

"I've always been a bit free and easy with what I will and will not discuss and so it doesn't bother me, but I know that many people will not talk about it. That needs to change."