Colette Fowler was the most amazing, strong, dedicated, family oriented, loving person anyone could imagine. Although she was my boss, we had a very special relationship. She was not only my boss, but also my friend. She was a mother of three children and a loving wife. She donated a lot of her time to her children’s athletic programs. Colette was a dedicated employee of the City of Downey Community and Senior Center, where she was absolutely adored by everyone. Her sense of humor and sarcasm were what made her a joy to be around.
Colette was in charge of a very large senior talent show production at the senior center. She hadn’t been feeling well and entrusted me to take over. I had expected her back by the second day of the production, but she called me and told me she wasn’t going to be in for six months. I thought she was joking, until I heard her voice crack and she started to cry, she told me on the phone that she had stage IV Colorectal Cancer. She had lived with ulcerative coloitis since the age of 16, and was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 41. She lived with the cancer for 14 months.
I tried very hard for those 14 months to be her rock, and never let her know that I was vulnerable the way that she was. She had always been tough for me, and I was going to do that for her. Until this day I can’t break the habit of wanting to pick up my phone in the morning to text her words of encouragement.
Colette had a hard life growing up, she needed to learn to be independent very early in life, and although her life could have turned out badly, she never let her past take over her future. She finished her college degree and started a beautiful family. Her strength in everything she did is what made her special. Her career was centered around our Senior Citizens. She was so very devoted to our seniors in every way. I, since her passing, took over her position and feel compelled to do as good a job as she did.
I have been able to honor Colette because I have been very active in pageants and that has given me the opportunity to spread the word about my platform (colorectal cancer). Doing the Get Your Rear in Gear Walk was my first step as Miss Southern California to make others aware about this illness. To me, Get Your Rear in Gear means get up, and get ready to fight; To fight for a cure by walking, spreading the word, and getting a routine checkup. Fight, for your life and the lives of others.