I am a son of a colon cancer survivor. I was thrust into this the uncommon position at the age 17 when my mom was diagnosed. People my grandparent’s age get cancer, not my mom. High school started with my mom losing her mother to cancer, and it was a terrifying thought that high school could end with losing my mother.
I get my rear in gear because of my mom.
The surgery to remove a portion of my mom’s colon took place on February 14, 2007. Valentine’s Day. I recall flowers being delivered to people in school from their significant others, while get well soon flowers were being delivered to my mom. A day once focused on romantic love will now forever be a day of family love for me, and I’m thankful for that.
I get my rear in gear because of that family love.
The surgery and following months of chemotherapy resulted in my mom’s stage 3 colon cancer going into remission, where it thankfully remains today. During those months of treatment I graduated high school. I began attending school at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa where I selected my major as communications. As my junior year of college came to end, I began actively searching for an internship in the non-profit field. To my pleasant surprise, an organization named the Colon Cancer Coalition was looking for a communications intern. A perfect fit.
I get my rear in gear because colon cancer is a cause I care about.
After spending the first half of my summer doing communication work for the Colon Cancer Coalition, I attended my first Get Your Rear in Gear race in Rochester, Minn. where I photographed the event and walked the last portion of the 5K with my mom. It was a day I never expected would happen, as well as a day that I will never forget.
I get my rear in gear because life is full of the unexpected.
Doctors are now saying that roughly 1 in 18 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer. Often times it seems like there isn’t anything we can do about that number. If every one in 18 people are diagnosed early though, the survival rate is huge.
I get my rear in gear because others need to know how this can be prevented.
Truthfully, there are countless reasons why I get my rear in gear. My list could go on and on. When I first found the Colon Cancer Coalition’s website, I read this quote: “We are sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and friends who have been affected by colon cancer and want to do something.”
We want to do something, and we can.
I get my rear in gear to make a difference.
Matt Knutson is Get Your Rear in Gear’s invaluable Social Media and Communications Intern. We are thrilled that he has been so dedicated to us for so long. THANKS MATT! We appreciate everything you do.