On March 11, we were thrilled to partner with Olympus to present a how-to on sharing stories to make an impact on colorectal cancer screening. Watch the replay and download the resources referenced below.
Where to share your story:
Our panelists for this one-hour session included:
Doug Dallman is a close friend of the Colon Cancer Coalition and is well-known in the colorectal cancer community. At age 40, he had been experiencing increasingly worse symptoms for a decade. Doctors were unable to determine the cause. When he went to see his doctor for his 40-year-old physical, which included his first prostate check, the doctor discovered a low-lying tumor. Doug was diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer one week later.
After his diagnosis, he encouraged his brothers to be screened as well. Two had polyps removed, including one who was pre-cancerous. Other family members were also inspired to get screened, and polyps were caught in a few of them as well.
Now, 20 years after symptoms first appeared and 10 years after diagnosis, Doug is cancer-free. He enjoys the outdoors and is an avid hiker and backpacker and even competed in a few bodybuilding competitions to prove that he was still capable of pushing his body after cancer. He is a constant advocate for living life after cancer, and not letting an ostomy slow you down.
Andrew Albert, MD, MPH, is the Medical Director of Digestive Health at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago. His mission is to end preventable deaths related to colorectal cancer. Through his efforts, Advocate Health System has achieved a greater than 80% screening rate. Realizing that traditional messaging around colon cancer prevention was not enough, Dr. Albert launched the social media campaign, #backoffcoloncancer, in 2017. Within a few weeks, this grass-roots approach became a worldwide movement with thousands of people joining the campaign. He was honored for this work as one of 20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans by StreetWise Magazine. Dr. Albert is a leader on the NCCRT Hospital and Health System Advisory Board and leads best practices in colorectal cancer screening across the country. He has held numerous community and corporate events to bring the messaging to those who need it most.
Gale Fritsche started Tour de Tush in Allentown in 2015, now a nationwide virtual event slated for May 2021. He became involved in planning the event while going through treatments for stage III colon cancer discovered during a routine colonoscopy screening at age 50. His hope is that sharing his story and events like the Tour de Tush will make an impact on many communities in the fight against colon cancer. Gale openly shares his story whenever he can to make sure others know the importance of this lifesaving test.
Gale’s story links:
- Gale’s Faces of Blue Story
- Olympus Corporation of the Americas
- New Your Times (AP)
- Lehigh Valley Health Network
- Various other media outlets – local Television, Radio, Newspapers
Amy Johnson is a small business owner and a long-time volunteer of the Colon Cancer Coalition going back to the very first Get Your Rear in Gear events in Minneapolis. Amy has taken what she has learned throughout the years of working with the organization back into her everyday life. Knowledge that came in handy when her husband had his colonoscopy at the age of 45 because of family history. Pete wasn’t the only one with family history. Amy’s father and sister both have a history of polyps and she herself had polyps removed at her very first screening colonoscopy, preventing cancer. Amy and Pete co-founded Rock from the Heart, a 501c3, dedicated provide accurate information about thoracic aortic aneurysms, aortic dissection, and aortic valve disease by reaching out to the community through music.
We invited Amy to share today not just her screening story, but also how she has taken another family health emergency and made an impact through Pete’s story for those living with aortic diseases.