My brother, Mike Tilley, was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer in 2021 at the age of 30. It was the typical story that has, sadly, become too common: he was experiencing changes in his bowel habits, blood in stool, losing weight, etc. He was a healthy guy who ran marathons, so this shift in health was not normal. His doctor kept assuring him it was stress-related because his wedding was only months away. Mike even asked if it was possible for him to have colon cancer.
His doctor scoffed at this and assured him he was too young to have it. He was misdiagnosed with IBS and later Crohn’s Disease.
As someone who has had IBS-D my entire life, I have had my fair share of bad experiences surrounding bathroom habits. I knew what he was experiencing was not normal for IBS. A few days before his wedding, he wound up in the ER with a temperature of 104 degrees. The ER doctors did a CT scan and a mass was found, so a colonoscopy was scheduled. After his wedding and honeymoon, where he was in constant pain, he finally had a colonoscopy performed. A softball sized tumor was found in his colon.
On July 21, 2021, Mike had surgery to remove his tumor, 16 inches of his colon and his appendix. A few months later, his diagnosis was moved to Stage IV after finding tumors in his liver. While dealing with this horrible disease, he and our family discovered that early onset colorectal cancer is becoming too common in young adults. Mike founded the Mike Tilley Nation Foundation to raise awareness of young adult onset CRC and educate on the symptoms and treatment. Mike passed away on August 29, 2022 at the age of 31.
Even though he’s no longer here, his mission lives on through his foundation. We are committed to seeing the alarmingly rising trend of early onset colorectal cancer decrease. The Colon Cancer Coalition has been and continues to be an invaluable resource for Mike and our family. We are so grateful that this foundation was around to educate us and be an ally. The Colon Cancer Coalition was also one of the first established foundations surrounding colorectal cancer to follow our account on Instagram… that meant a BIG deal to us. When we saw this event, we knew we had to participate. We also like puns, so we knew our team name had to be Bike Tilley Nation!
We are so looking forward to biking this month and raising money for a great cause!
Join Jess and Bike Tilley Nation in this year’s Tour de Tush, or donate today!TOUR DE TUSH TOUR DE TUSH ON STRAVA GET SCREENED