20 February, 2021
Earl keeps dancing for cancer awareness
INSPIRING kids to "Keep on Dancing" with interactive music videos from the Australian children's entertainer, Bumkin. holds a story true for many cancer survivors.
Raised from the cane fields of Northern Queensland, Earl Neilsen AKA ‘Bumkin’ toured for many years in the Central West.
He was nominated for Children's Song of the Year, TSA Songwriters' Awards, Tamworth 2004 and 2005.
This part of his life all came to an end when his close friend passed away from cancer, and Earl himself was diagnosed with rectal cancer at the age of 39.
“Last year I went in for a colonoscopy and they found a tumor,” he said.
“I was the patron for the Cancer Council for my friend and then to find out I had cancer myself, that was earth shattering at the time.
The doctors put a plan together at great pace and gave Earl the best chances of survival.
“After a couple of rounds of radiation and lots of rounds of chemotherapy and then obviously major surgery and a colostomy bag reversal now I’m back to work full time and on the mend,” he said.
“It's been a bit of a journey, but progress was made, and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Earl's story was a very special one because he was not your usual candidate for bowel cancer.
“I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, it wasn’t in my family history,” Earl said.
“I didn’t really match up to any of the criteria of what usually happens to people with bowel cancer.”
Now that life is getting back to normal, Earl wants to get the awareness out there that you are never too young to get checked out.
“Everyone's journey is different, it doesn’t matter if its rectal cancer or breast cancer or anything, it’s a long road and its tough on the person and everyone around them,” he said.
“As far as getting diagnosed, if you get it early enough its usually curable so it’s the key.
“I was blessed to have the Icon Centre in Mackay and I could travel back and forth, and having family and friends.
“People out in the west are great people and they get behind each other if there's drought, flood and people through illness, farmers help each other out fairly so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“Out west they are very humble and proud people and don’t like to ask for too much help but when you are going through something like this you do need help.
“It takes a community to raise a child, well, it also takes a community to help you through a journey of cancer.”