HE’s the big-bodied hard man who provides a bit of aggression in the Port Adelaide engine room, and Sam Powell-Pepper is now lending his weight to a good cause, the early detection of bowel cancer.
Powell-Pepper recently took up Pilates as a way to improve his core strength and be even stronger when tackled.
While at Studio Pilates in North Adelaide, the 23-year-old met some classmates who had been impacted by bowel cancer and were planning a 24-hour Pilates Marathon as a fundraiser to support the work of the Jodi Lee Foundation.
“Someone’s going to have to be on the reformer for 24 hours straight,” Powell-Pepper said before taking on a Pilates class at the venue.
“I’m not sure how that’s going to go because I struggle in a 45-minute class!
“But it’s all about raising awareness for a good cause and encouraging people to get checked for bowel cancer. It’s all about early detection and prevention.”
Around 15,000 people will be diagnosed with bowel cancer this year and it claims the lives of one person every two hours.
While he has not been personally impacted by the disease, Powell-Pepper started to find out more about its impacts on young people in particular and what the Jodi Lee Foundation does to encourage prevention and early detection.
Jodi Lee died in 2010, just before her 41st birthday, after her bowel cancer spread to her lymph and liver.
She left behind her husband and two children, and a legacy they carry to encourage others to get checked.
Her husband Nick Lee was grateful for the support of Studio Pilates and Powell-Pepper, and he watched on as the midfield bull and new teammate Aliir Aliir took part in a class.
“It’s the second biggest cancer killer yet it’s up to 99 per-cent preventable so it’s a logical thing to try protect yourself,” Mr Lee explained.
“The key thing for people to understand is that there is a simple test out there you can do so speak to your pharmacist or GP and get checked.
“These guys are elite sportspeople and we want people to be fit and healthy but they fit into one of the more dangerous age brackets. Bowel cancer is the leading cancer killer in 25–29-year-olds so they should be thinking about this as well.
“Don’t wait til you’re 50 before you start protecting yourself against this very preventable disease.”
As for Powell-Pepper, he is looking forward to putting his extra core strength to the test on the football field.
“It’s definitely helped with a few different things to add another string to my bow. It’s something different but I’m enjoying it and it’s a bit of fun as well,” he explained.
“Pilates focusses on everything but mainly the core so being able to stand up stronger in the tackle will be important and anything that can help me take that step ahead is good.”