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Colon Cancer Alliance: Why We Do What We Do

Posted on November 20, 2013

Every month at the Colon Cancer Alliance, we have a staff-wide meeting to make sure everyone’s up to speed with what’s going on across departments. At these meetings, one staff member is asked to share a “why we do what we do” story.

It can be easy to get caught up in the busyness of our day-to-day jobs, and these stories remind us why we’re sitting where we are. When we’re bogged down with tasks and deadlines, it’s encouraging to pause for a moment and reflect on the mission we’re serving: knocking colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers.

Melissa Bjorklund, Patient Support & Outreach Senior Coordinator at the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Melissa Bjorklund, Patient Support & Outreach Senior Coordinator at the Colon Cancer Alliance.

For our October staff call, I was asked to share a story from the Patient Support team. What came to mind was not one single story, but rather a theme that ran across many stories. I wanted to share how the Colon Cancer Alliance connects people and what a powerful thing that is.

Many people come to us at times of crisis; after all, cancer is not at the forefront of most people’s minds until they or a loved one are diagnosed. It’s during these moments of devastation and fear that people search online and come across our website, call our Helpline or are recommended to us at the doctor’s office.

And while they may initially be in search of answers or hope, the most important thing they find is that they are not alone. We are a vibrant community of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates, and we’re here to tell you that we’ve been in your shoes; we know what you’re going through and so do the nearly one million colon cancer survivors (and their families) across the country.

We’re survivors who have been living fulfilled lives in spite of this disease for five, ten, even fifteen years after diagnosis. We’re knowledgeable patients and caregivers who have dealt with all kinds of medications and side effects and can help navigate how to thrive during treatment. We’re an experienced and compassionate staff that’s committed to our cause.

Connecting with the Colon Cancer Alliance has been a true lifeline for many in our community. “The My CCA Support Online Community was a lifesaver for me,” says stage III survivor Mark. “I was lost and confused, and the cancer survivors in the chat room were able to help me through all of my difficulties because they had experienced the same things I had. Now that I am a survivor, I try to give back by helping newly diagnosed patients with the issues they’re experiencing. Also, I think the fact that I am a nine-year survivor might let these folks know there is hope for them too. “

I am proud to work for an organization that has such a vital impact on people’s lives. Being on staff at the Colon Cancer Alliance isn’t just a job, it’s a family.

Melissa Bjorklund is the Colon Cancer Alliance Patient Support & Outreach Senior Coordinator. She has been with the Colon Cancer Alliance since 2009 managing varying roles and responsibilities until recently joining the Patient Support team. Aside from the vital role she fills within the organization, Melissa prides herself on being the office’s chief cat enthusiast and undefeated pie baking champion.

2 Responses to “Colon Cancer Alliance: Why We Do What We Do”

  1. Edie Jones says:

    I was diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer, with mets to the liver and lungs, on October 8th 2012. I am 54 years old and have been struggling to come to terms with being told by Doctors and specialists that there is only a 1 percent survival rate and that I am considered to be Terminal.I was originally given oxalipalatin, xeloda and avastin but on the 2nd dose of oxali I went into anaphalaxis. I was taken off the oxali and left just on the Avastin and xeloda till around 12 weeks ago because my tumour markers had risen to 270, it was decided to try a chemo drug called irinotecan. After an initial drop in tumour markers to 230 my last tumour count had risen to 270 again and now they are raising the dosage of the Irinotecan as of next week. I am currently having the Irinotecan weekly for for weeks and still having the Avastin 3 weekly. I have been told if the increased dosage of the Irinotecan doesn’t bring my tumour count down that they do have another drug up their sleeve, but they have not yet told me what drug this is.I am fighting this Cancer with everything I have but I have yet to find anyone that has survived stage 4 Colon Cancer and do struggle to keep up hope that I can be one of the 1 percent that survive this. I try to focus on being positive and pray that I will beat this damn Cancer everyday. I remember to laugh every day ,love every day and most of all to be happy for every extra day I am given.

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