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By Amy Wenzel, Get Your Rear in Gear Communications Intern

Amy and her father in at the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth in 2009.

Amy and her father in at the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth in 2009.

Editor’s Note: Colon Cancer Awareness Month is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean that we will stop trying to “Get Your Rear in Gear.” In her own words, Amy Wenzel, a communications intern with the Colon Cancer Coalition / Get Your Rear in Gear, shares the story of her dad’s diagnosis with Stage 3 colorectal cancer. Amy is a great asset to the organization. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your story.

I was about to start my senior year of high school when my dad was diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer in 2004. As for many, it’s a moment you never will forget when you find out you or a loved one has cancer, especially one with a poor prognosis.

No matter what, cancer affects everyone. As a senior in high school, I was thinking about where I wanted to go to college. I would have liked to gone out-of-state for college but thought better of it not knowing what the immediate future held. Financially and emotionally I decided it was best to stay close to home.

The next year would be a hard one for my dad, my family and me. It was a rollercoaster of events. The surgery to remove the huge cancerous polyp went great and he was the “poster child” for healing and recovery according to his doctors. But the harsh chemo treatments, blood clots in the legs and an intestinal infection that led to a blood transfusion wore my dad down mentally and physically. I truly admired my dad’s positive attitude and his push to keep going that he kept through this journey. It amazed me how someone that is being beat by cancer could see the positive and that personally helped me get through this tough time. It was a long hard road and fortunately, my dad defeated the odds.

In 2007, my family entered the “Get Your Rear in Gear” 5K for the first time. It was a breathtaking moment seeing the sea of people out there walking in support of colon cancer awareness. It was amazing to see how many people have been affected by colon cancer and to think this was a cancer I hardly knew anything about a couple years before.

Life definitely has not been the same since colon cancer entered my life. I get my rear in gear everyday by living my life to the fullest and being healthy, active and being positive no matter what happens. I am excited to be a communications intern with Get Your Rear in Gear. It is a great feeling to know I am helping get the message out about how important colon cancer awareness and early screenings are. Colon cancer awareness is very important to me because a simple screening could have prevented what my dad went through. But thanks to those colonoscopies, it caught the cancer in time and my dad is still with us, and cancer free!