Editor’s Note, April 6, 2022: We are devastated to share that Andrea passed away on April 2, 2022, due to complications from colorectal cancer. She was just 31. Andrea was a joy to know and will be deeply missed. Her passion for colorectal cancer screening, prevention, and supporting patients will live on. Please keep Andrea’s family and friends in your thoughts as they grieve the loss of this brilliant, spirited, beautiful human being.
One of her last wishes was for planning around the inaugural Get Your Rear in Gear® – Bahamas to continue and for the event to go on as scheduled on May 14, 2022. We are working with her family and look forward to honoring those requests.
Andrea Darville is a fit 31-year-old woman with impeccable style and a bright smile. She’s the owner of an independent hair braiding business and was Miss University of the Bahamas 2018. She’s young, glamorous, and outgoing. Two years ago, Andrea was fresh out of undergraduate with a degree in media journalism and looking towards an exciting future. She had just moved into her first apartment on her own and was considering graduate school to further her business.
But then in May 2020, Andrea began noticing blood in her stool. She went to the doctor to get tested and was told that everything came back normal. She continued to see blood when she went to the bathroom but suspected that it was due to food allergies or something else that wasn’t serious because there was no family history of colon cancer.
However in August 2020, the actor Chadwick Boseman – made famous as the superhero Black Panther – died tragically from colon cancer. Following his death, fans circulated information around social media raising awareness of colorectal cancer symptoms and encouraging people to get tested. This prompted Andrea to go back to the doctor.
In September 2020, a colonoscopy confirmed that indeed, Andrea had stage III colorectal cancer. The prognosis included the removal of her large intestine and rectum followed by chemotherapy treatment. When she got the call, she immediately began crying; Andrea was heartbroken and terrified. “In that moment,” she says, “I knew that my life would never be the same.” She had to hold herself together, though, because she was the primary caregiver for her elderly mother who was suffering from asthma attacks and the two of them were on their way to her mother’s doctor’s appointment.
Andrea comes from a close family, one in which they take care of each other and show up through the hard times. Andrea’s oldest sister was the first person she told after she got her diagnosis. Her sister opened her home to Andrea, and they’ve been living together ever since. Throughout the last two hard years, her family has been by her side. She says, “I’ve never felt alone on this entire journey.”
Her family has also encouraged Andrea to keep her sights on her goals and share her unique gifts with the world. While her health has caused her to change her plans in significant ways, she still does not want to abandon her dreams altogether.
Andrea’s journey has been far, far from simple. Like many people who have cancer, there have been periods of remission, celebration, and relief followed by devastating phone calls and further treatment. Andrea’s cancer is back now and she has been undergoing strenuous treatments. On her blog in Feb. 2021 Andrea shares how she endures the moments of pain, knowing that the one constant in all of our lives is change:
“There are moments when we are joyful, hopeful, excited and optimistic about life, but on the days when we feel the exact opposite emotions, then what? I want to encourage you today to know on those days, breathe. Cry out loud if you must, or go for a walk at the park. Take a dip in the ocean, or plug in your headphones and listen to your favorite music. Do something that will make your heart beat. Do something that will make you happy because nothing lasts forever, especially not the pain.”
Note from the Colon Cancer Coalition: Andrea has decided to bring Get Your Rear in Gear® to Nassau, Bahamas, in May 2022. We are grateful for her energy and leadership and look forward to making an impact in the Bahamas around colorectal cancer screening efforts and awareness.
RETURN TO FACES OF BLUE LEARN MORE ABOUT Young Onset Colorectal Cancer