July 15, 2008
The following statement regarding Tony Snow's passing was released by Tim Turnham, Chief Executive Officer for the Colon Cancer Alliance:
The death of former White House press secretary Tony Snow has sparked a flood of remembrances and accolades. Much has been written of his intelligence, his keen journalistic perspective, his ability to engage people from different perspectives.
For the Colon Cancer Alliance and the patients and family members we serve, Tony's passing means something else entirely. We have lost a friend, a companion, and an advocate.
Battling colorectal cancer the second time around gave Tony new insights. He was absolutely committed to doing something to fight this disease, and was working with the Colon Cancer Alliance—among many others—to find ways that he could contribute.
Those conversations revealed a man who was remarkable for his strength and honesty. He was incredibly warm and personable. He once said that he considered himself lucky. He had access to the best treatment teams, and his recurrence—at that time—was limited to the peritoneal cavity. But he also knew that the tumors were growing. He said, "Right now I feel good, and I am working out like a fiend so my body will be as strong as possible if things start getting worse."
His words were strangely prophetic. Ultimately, working out, having the best treatment team, keeping a positive attitude—these things were not enough for him to prevail.
So another friend has been lost to the insatiable beast that is cancer. But with his passing comes the opportunity to remember the lessons that he left behind: hope cannot be defeated, even by death; those things that are truly important can never be taken away from us; what controls our body does not have to control us; even in our own struggles we must make room for compassion toward others. For people battling colon cancer, these lessons—more than his awards and journalistic achievements—that are his true legacy.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the US (not counting skin cancers). In 2008 the American Cancer Society predicts that more than 148,000 new cases will be diagnosed and nearly 50,000 individuals will loose their lives. CCA and health officials recommend that adults begin routine screening for colon cancer at age 50, or earlier if they have a history of colon cancer in their immediately family.