Reema Huzair is a Senior Health Promotion and Training Officer at Bowel Cancer UK, and the money raised through the Suzy Spirit Award contributes to the important work that she does. This is a day in her life.
7am: I wake up and start the day with a green or purple smoothie. It’s a great time of day to get a big dose of vitamins and fibre. I like to boost my immunity this way, particularly with potential viruses and packed tube journeys ahead of me.
9am: I leave my home in Walthamstow and head into work, on the way in I check my emails for any new volunteers signing up. These volunteers are vital to raising awareness of bowel cancer in local communities, and a large part of my role at the charity is to identify pockets of communities where there is a low intake of bowel cancer screening for the over 60s (and over 50s in Scotland).
Screening is the first step of testing for bowel cancer. If diagnosed at the earliest stage, bowel cancer can be treated successfully, with nine out of ten people surviving for more than five years. However, only one in ten people are diagnosed at this stage. I train volunteers to give talks about the importance of taking their screening test, which is delivered to them at heir home.
10.30am: I’m in a meeting with the NHS to see how we can best assist health workers. This involves discussing targets for screening, budgets and weighing-up effective interventions. The outcome of these meetings may be that educational materials or our health professional training will be part of a wider campaign, which also includes different forms of health promotion.
12.30am: I grab my packed lunch from the office fridge. It’s always a big salad with fish, beans or a meat replacement product. My intention is to move from a pescetarian to a vegetarian diet in the next few months. There is often a bit of cake lurking in the office which I will be sure to sample if it is an exercise day! I will have lunch as I look on the internet for flats to view as I am trying to buy a place in East London.
1pm: I travel into central London to meet with a local council where screening uptake is low. We discuss their targets for screening, budgets and weigh up effective health campaigns.
3pm: I’m back in the office, researching and preparing slides and handouts for upcoming talks as well as emailing volunteers, most of whom are bowel cancer survivors. Regular contact is important so they feel motivated to stay with us. I congratulate them on their talks and keep them up-to-date about research findings that will affect their awareness discussions. They often mention bits and pieces about cancer prevention that they may have come across in the news.
5pm: I finish work on time, grab my dance kit and head off to my dance class in Covent Garden for a 6pm start. It’s usually some variation of hip hop as there’s nothing better than slamming your body around to a heavy bassline after a long day.
9pm: I get home and get on with preparing dinner. This is usually a vegetable stir fry, as I’ve had a protein shake after class. As it’s cooking, I go to YouTube to see the uploaded dance routines from class just earlier. It is sometimes cringe-worthy, but occasionally I pull out a good one! Dinner is almost always viewed with the latest episode of Eastenders on catch up.
10pm: It’s time to make my lunchbox for the next day, and pack tomorrow’s dance kit. I’ll check out the health sections of New Scientist and get ready for my 12pm bedtime.