2017 Faces of Blue

Posted by | April 05, 2017 | Faces of Blue | No Comments

The Colon Cancer Coalition would like to thank everyone that participated in this year’s Faces of Blue story series. Your stories were courageous and inspiring. We hope you will continue to keep bringing awareness to colorectal cancer. Here is a recap of all the stories, and remember to check your colon!

Rachel Allen | March 1 | survivor

Rachel Allen had no symptoms, no family history, and no idea that she could be diagnosed with colon cancer at age 28.  “Nothing compares to the strength it takes to fight off this horrible disease and keep surviving. Every step you take through the pain is building strength.”

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Barbara Majeski | March 2 | survivor

Barbara Majeski had family history and symptoms, but she still had no idea she was at risk for colon cancer when she was diagnosed at just 42.”I didn’t think colon cancer was something healthy women got. I never knew of anyone my age or gender with colon cancer, in my mind it was something that happened to overweight men in their 60’s, so I ignored them.”

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Alison Damon | March 3 | caregiver

It has been just over a year since Alison Damon lost her mother to colon cancer at just 42. “You never expect to lose a parent when you’re young; the phrase ‘you never know what you have until it’s gone’ describes the loss of a parent perfectly.” Alison pays sweet tribute to a women who will always be her hero.

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Candice Davies- Murney | March 4 | survivor 

When Candice Davies-Murney finally got to the bottom of the symptoms she was experiencing, she could have never imagined she would be told it was colon cancer. She leans on her family and friends for the support she needs to get through each day.

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Shelby Soto | March 5 | survivor

Shelby’s story once again reminded us that cancer can effect anyone at any age. At just 25, Shelby Soto knew her family history put her at risk, and decided to be proactive about screening for colon cancer. It was a decision that saved her life.

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Elizabeth Bradbury | March 6 | survivor

As a single mom, a cancer diagnosis was one of Elizabeth Bradbury’s worst fears. Elizabeth’s journey to become cancer free was not easy. “Cancer changes everything, it’s true.  Everyone’s experience is unique.  The most important thing I think is to honor what I have been through.  It isn’t always a happily ever after fairy tale, but it is my story and my life.”

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Jodi Lee Ellsworth | March 7 | caregiver

Jodi Lee Ellsworth shared her story about her daughters amazing fight with cancer. She had to endure what no mother should ever have to go through when her daughter was diagnosed with colon cancer at just 31. “All I can say is, I was and am truly forever blessed to be Erin Lee Garvey’s mom!”

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Kim Morring | March 8 | caregiver

A stroke at age 35 came as a complete shock for Kim Morring and her husband. But when he was diagnosed with colon cancer not long after, they had no idea the road that would ultimately lead them down. “Joe was one of the bravest, kindest, and most caring men I have ever met.”

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Pete Wong | March 9 | caregiver

Pete Wong has watched cancer devastate his family, but it was the death of his Uncle Eddie from colon cancer that motivated him to use his talents to do something about it. “Ever since I was a kid he showed us how much he loved us by always being there. He was such a great person – full of love for his family.”

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Daniel Reiff | March 10 | caregiver

When Daniel Reiff said the vows “in sickness and in health” on his wedding day, he had no clue that within months he would be holding true to them as a caregiver to his bride. Since submitting his story to us, his wife Betsy has passed away from colon cancer. Betsy was the “gal of his dreams.”

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Brent Call | March 11 | survivor

Cancer is nothing new for Brent Call, having been diagnosed with it as a child. But when colon cancer was followed by a stage V kidney disease diagnosis, he knew he would have to rely on the support of his family to fight both battles.

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Cortney Gordon | March 12 | caregiver

Cortney Gordon’s mom was a fighter who lived with colon cancer for 5-years before she passed away late last month. This is a heartfelt tribute from a daughter to her mother. “She was the strongest person I knew and the best mom anyone could have. She was my world and my best friend.”

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Yasmeem Watson | March 13 | survivor

Yasmeem Watson shared with us how she took her diagnosis and made something positive out of it. When she was looking for support after diagnosis, Yasmeem Watson found she was often the only African-American in the room. Now she is blazing a trail for others like her to follow.

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Carole Motycka | March 14 | survivor

Carole Motycka is grateful that her own diagnosis led to the discovery of a genetic predisposition for colon cancer. Her kids have since been screened, both of them had the genetic disposition. “Through all of this we have saved lives!!!”

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Maria Taylor | March 15 | caregiver

Maria Taylor and her family lost an irreplaceable man known for his selfless and giving spirit. “My family and I miss him so much. Get screened, don’t ignore the signs and symptoms. It could save someone before it’s too late.”

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Jessica Flanigin West | March 16 | survivor

Jessica Flanigin West was excited for her new life when she was 33. She didn’t realize it would involve an ongoing fight with colon cancer.”I was excited to begin a new chapter in my life. Little did I know that I would begin a new novel, instead of a new chapter!”

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Christina Frey | March 17 | survivor

Christina Frey pressed for another scan when her unexplained pain didn’t improve. The subsequent cancer diagnosis would turn this nurse into a patient, and give her a new appreciate for life.”I continue to fight everyday. And while I know my fight is not over, nor is everyday a win, I have hope and faith.”

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Barry Bridges | March 18 | caregiver

Barry Bridges knew all about colon cancer after his wife was diagnosed with it in 2006. But when his 28-year-old son was diagnosed 18 years later, he would learn just how devastating the disease could be. “We want to help others to survive by encouraging early diagnosis for this preventable disease, encouraging those who struggle with the battles, and supporting the fight against all forms of cancer.”

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Mayra Goodwin | March 19 | survivor

Mayra Goodwin had no family history of colorectal cancer, and had never heard of an ostomy before her diagnosis. But the young mother of two found great encouragement and hope from her support group, and even greater love from her family. “I learned cancer can pick anyone, despite of their race, background, lifestyle, sizes, and etc.”

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Demetria Harding | March 20 | survivor

Demetria Harding two sons quickly stepped up to the plate and became caregivers for their mom when she was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer. As she passes the 5-year mark with no evidence of disease, Demetria reflects back on the milestones and the support that got her through.”My entire life had changed! I was a single mother of two boys, a daughter, sister, friend, and registered nurse, for over ten years. Now I am a cancer patient.”

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Barb Kunz | March 21 | genetic counselor 

Barb Kunz helps families uncover inherited causes for colon cancer. Understanding risks can help individuals make personalized choices for screening and preventative care. “I am drawn to this work because many cancers can be prevented, and lives saved, if a genetic diagnosis of increased risk is identified and then used to guide care in these families.”

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David Dubin | March 22 | survivor

David Dubin shared his courageous story on Lynch Syndrome Awareness Day. He thought that colon cancer was just a right of passage for the men in his family. Genetic testing would later reveal why this diagnosis followed each generation. “I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as I was being wheeled into the OR back in 1997. He watched his 29-year-old son go through what he and his father went through.”

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Tiffany Thomas | March 23 | survivor

Tiffany Thomas endured countless tests for a year trying to determine the source of her abdominal pain. A colonoscopy was not one of them, because as her doctors told her, she was just too young. But a stage IV colon cancer diagnosis at age 20 proved everyone wrong. “My hope in sharing my story is that someone who is suffering from the same symptoms I did and the doctors keep telling them they are too young read this and get answers. You are never TOO young for colon cancer.”

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Desiree Yanes | March 24 | survivor

Desiree Yanes started participating in Get Your Rear in Gear – San Antonio to support her grandmother, a colon cancer survivor. A year later, her own symptoms led her to schedule an appointment with her doctor, where she was diagnosed with colon cancer herself. “Colon cancer has made me realize that no one is invincible!”

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Barbara Walters | March 25 | survivor

Barbara Walters will be the first to tell you that doctors don’t always know best. At age 50, her primary physician told her she didn’t need a colonoscopy because she didn’t have any symptoms. “Be your own advocate. If I had waited for my doctor to say yes where would I be now? I don’t want to even think about it. Get screened.”

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Anna Dahlgren | March 26 | survivor

Working in the medical profession helped 33-year-old Anna Dahlgren know that the blood she noticed in her stool wasn’t normal. That very day she spoke with a physician, and within a week she had a colonoscopy. “Cancer wasn’t anything that was on our radar at that point because I didn’t have a family history of colon cancer.”

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Jenny Yu | March 27 | caregiver

Jenny Yu explains cultural barriers to cancer screenings are hard to overcome, but she is on a mission to make sure other Asian families take colon cancer screening seriously. The loss of her father has motivated her and her siblings into action. “What cancer does to the person physically, mentally, and emotionally is indescribable.”

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Carla Linton | March 28 | survivor

Carla Linton now wonders why she didn’t get screened sooner, knowing her grandmother passed away from colon cancer at just 54. As a stage II survivor, she is grateful to have caught her colorectal cancer when she did. “Why? Why?!” I was 45 years old; a mother, a coach’s wife, a basketball scorekeeper, and a preschool teacher.”

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Carla Hines | March 29 | survivor

Carla Hines unavoidable symptoms finally forced her to schedule that long overdue colonoscopy at 52. A blockage made it impossible for her to even complete the prep, and a colon cancer diagnosis followed. “ALWAYS THE FIGHTER…..NEVER A QUITTER…..BRING IT!!!”

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Robert Desjarlait | March 30 | survivor

Robert Desjarlait’s Ojibwe culture and teachings have helped guide him on his cancer journey. To him cancer is not simply something within him, it is a part of him. “To me cancer is not simply something within me. It is part of me.”

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Meghan Morton | March 31 | survivor

Meghan Morton’s story was our last for the month of March. Her stage III diagnosis and surviving the side effects of chemotherapy sums up the month perfectly – “Speak up if you experience symptoms.”

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