ON A MISSION: Jenna Brook made her way through the Central Highlands this week to start a conversation about bums.
ON A MISSION: Jenna Brook made her way through the Central Highlands this week to start a conversation about bums. Contributed

Running in undies for bums

LONG-distance runner Jenna Brook dashed through Emerald this week in just a pair of undies.

She is running 4500km from Tasmania to Cape York to start a conversation about bums.

The 30-year-old farmer from Birdsville is on a mission to start a conversation about bowel cancer risk factors and early screening, in a campaign titled Running for Bums.

Ms Brook, who arrived in Emerald last Saturday, said her aim for the region was to to promote awareness about bowel cancer in rural areas.

"I am personally from a very rural area, so I understand some of the challenges that people face living in remote areas in regards to health care, having to leave families and spend time away from work,” she said.

"It was an opportunity to get awareness into those areas so they can have more understanding of the importance of early screening.

"It is definitely starting conversations.”

Ms Brook said bowel cancer was a topic not many people wanted to talk about.

"It's an area of our body that people can be embarrassed about and unfortunately that is the underlying factor,” she said.

"So many late diagnoses come down to sheer embarrassment, and I'd love to see the end of that.

"Many people are still too embarrassed to report symptoms to their doctors and push for screening.

"Still more people avoid discussing bowel cancer within a family setting because it seems undignified.

"However, the fact is that one in four people diagnosed have a family history of bowel cancer.

"The reality is we need to talk about it because that is what is going to save lives.”

Ms Brook was greeted with a $1000 donation to Bowel Cancer Australia by Emerald Rotary last Monday and was filled with appreciation.

"I have had a couple of great encounters with Rotary groups on the run so far and the Emerald one has just enforced that with their generous donation towards Bowel Cancer Australia to help continue the great work they are doing,” she said.

Running more than 40km per day, she will complete the equivalent of over 100 marathons.

She is equipped with 10 pairs of running shoes, dozens of clean socks and a support team to help her with safety, hydration and nutrition.

"After 10 weeks of running more than 40km a day it does get quite fatiguing, mentally, emotionally and physically,” she said.

"Every time we come into towns where people respond positively to what we are trying to accomplish gives you that lift to keep going.

"I only started running 18 months before I started this journey.”

She has already ran around 2649km and raised more than $35,000 for Bowel Cancer Australia.


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