on Apr 11, 22

A special kind of birthday to remember

On April 5, 2022, Phil Chapman and his family should have been celebrating his 40th birthday. 

But Phil didn’t live to see his 40th - his life was cut short by Bowel Cancer in 2006, at just 24-years-old.

Sister Katie Townshend says that if Phil had lived, his 40th would have been a party to remember. 

“When Phil was there the party started, and right till the end his personality filled the room.”

So Katie decided to make it a birthday to remember in a special kind of way - celebrating his life while raising cash to fight the disease. 

She created a birthday registry for Phil through The Good Registry, fundraising for Bowel Cancer New Zealand. 

“I know they do great things for families and people going through this illness,’ Katie said. “It is such a common illness and one that people don’t like to talk about because people don’t like to talk about butts.”

If detected early, bowel cancer is often curable, but Phil’s cancer was detected too late - he was already at stage 4, after he was earlier misdiagnosed and treated for Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease).

“People are often surprised to hear about a healthy, fit 24-year-old dying of bowel cancer, which just shows the importance of awareness about this horrible disease.”

Katie says Phil’s 40th felt like a big milestone that needed to be celebrated

“Every birthday and anniversary is tough in its own way, but the ones that are milestones are the ones that you take stock of more.  After 15 years, it is interesting that the feelings don’t get any easier, but it’s nice to be able to find ways to honour him, and The Good Registry is a great way to do that.”

Friends and family have donated $750 to Phil’s birthday registry.

“It’s really touching the number of people who got on board and helped honour him, especially some of his oldest friends." Katie says.

“Many of those who  donated left beautiful messages which were really touching to read. It helps show that, even after all this time, Phil is still a part of our lives and leaving a legacy in this world, which is pretty cool.”

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