Stomach cancer champion
“Education is the key to everything. Being more aware of yourself and the things around you.”
Harley is a Noongar Minang man from Albany, the youngest of seven. His oldest brother Alwin died of stomach cancer.
In early 2019 Alwin’s symptoms came on suddenly. He had a tightness and pain in his belly, and he then started to lose weight. He didn’t see a doctor straight away, unfortunately. It was difficult to watch for Harley as Alwin had always been physically fit, he was a footballer and a boxer. He was the strongest man in their family.
“We all see changes in our bodies over periods of time. Illness in Aboriginal communities is certainly something we carry with ease, in a way that we shouldn’t. We seem to carry pain, thinking this is how it is. It’s not until you get older that you realise you’ve got to get this thing sorted out. The resilience of youth can take away our willingness to get checked. When pain persists, get it sorted.’
‘Alcohol consumption and the damage it can do in terms of relationships and families is something we need more awareness of. Aboriginal people don’t recognise the link between alcohol and cancer. Education is the key to everything. Being more aware of yourself and the things around you.’
‘I am now more conscious of the fact that family is important. I’ve become more aware of the need to be around family and understanding each other’s needs. A blessing in one sense, though it’s cost the connection with one brother. We have become stronger as a family and protective of each other.’
‘Take the time to be kind to yourself. When pain persists, get it sorted. Good health is important to not only you but to your family as well.’