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Our Heroes

Fatherhood & Cancer: Richard’s Story

Posted on June 13, 2014


When I was originally diagnosed with colon cancer, I was on the way to meet my wife and son at Bob Evans for a “kids eat free” meal. Unexpectedly, I received a call from the GI. He sounded distraught, so immediately I tried to put him at ease. (You read that right!) He was not used to delivering this kind of news to someone my age. He just kept apologizing to me. He had assured me that I was too young to have this disease at age 41, and with a 4-year-old son. When I got off the phone, I sat in the parking lot trying to determine what it would all mean, and how my family would react; all I could think of was my son growing up without a dad. Being a father to a now 7-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter has had a tremendous impact on the way I treat my cancer and the decisions I make as I go along this journey. Thankfully, I am still alive and kicking. Read more

Hero of the Month: Elysia Hayden

Posted on June 4, 2014

Caleb, Elysia and their family on Christmas 2012.

After unexpectedly losing her brother to colon cancer at just 36 years old, Elysia Hayden made it her mission to not only be proactive about her own health, but put this disease on the radar of others in her Spokane community. On May 17th, with the help of her friends and family, the team held the Caleb’s Colonoscopy Crew Virtual Undy Run/Walk, where 75+ people came out to support her efforts to take down this disease by participating or donating. Read more

My Journey: Candace Fresch

Posted on May 28, 2014

CF Undy 2

My journey begins just as any other cancer patient’s does…unexpected.

When I was 39, I started having pain while going to the bathroom. I thought I had a hemorrhoid. I tried treating myself with over the counter creams. However, it only became larger and more painful. Eventually, I went to a colorectal specialist at Parker Adventist Hospital. Immediately she told me it wasn’t a hemorrhoid. I had a colonoscopy done. I had to have surgery to remove the mass. Read more

Never Too Young: Sonja Darrel

Posted on May 16, 2014

Sonja darrel

Sonja Darrel is a 28-year-old mother and wife who loves spending time with her family. She has always been active and healthy, so when she started having consistent stomach pains and abdominal discomfort, she knew something had to be wrong.

After coping with symptoms for over a year, Sonja finally decided to take her health into her hands and scheduled an appointment with her doctor. She shared her symptoms and was sent for a colonoscopy. It was then, at 26 years old, Sonja was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer that had spread to her liver and more than ten lymph nodes – a devastating diagnosis for anyone, especially someone so young and full of life. Read more

Hero of the Month: Grace De La Rosa

Posted on May 10, 2014

Grace square

Grace De La Rosa was diagnosed with colon cancer when she was 38 years old and had two young children. This year marks her 9th year as a survivor, and she’s celebrating by getting involved in a way big. After attending our National Conference last year and being inspired by so many of her fellow colon cancer warriors, she decided she was going to jump in with both hands with her own volunteer efforts. So in March, in conjunction with Colon Cancer Awareness Month, she launched her Be a Blue Buddy campaign that’s gotten some serious traction in Florida and beyond and has raised $1,500 for our Blue Note Fund. Grace, thank you for your dedication to supporting patients and saving lives – you continue to inspire us! Read more