I remember the day I was told I had rectal cancer, not only because it’s such life-changing news, but it was also April Fool’s Day. How could a seemingly healthy 41-year-old, with no history of colorectal cancer have this disease? The week that followed my diagnosis was a barrage of tests and screening that helped determine my diagnosis of Stage III rectal cancer. This screening was what determined the plan of action my team of doctors would take to help me fight this disease. My treatment path included 28 rounds of radiation, chemotherapy, two surgeries, andmore chemotherapy.
I am so happy to say I am now cancer free. Even with my cancer in remission, I’m still receiving regular surveillance scans to confirm my cancer is has not returned.
After my diagnosis, I wanted to do something to make a difference for others affected by cancer. I started to get more involved in cancer advocacy work and educating others, especially young people, about the rise in colorectal cancer. I am a founding member of a Boston-area cancer support group and am currently helping to co-chair a charity event to raise money to support colorectal cancer research. I also told my story to more than 1000 people at a 5k held in Boston, helping to spread the word and educate others about early screening and signs of colorectal cancer.
Now, I have travelled to DC to make my voice heard by Members of Congress. I had the opportunity to share my story with lawmakers and advocate for policies that protect patient access to innovative treatments. One such policy includes repeal of the medical device tax, which takes funding away from research and development investment.
As a survivor, I know how scary a cancer diagnosis can be. However, for me, it was also a source of inspiration.
It inspired me to become an advocate for others who are going through a similar journey. Now I’m fighting for a world where everyone has access to the screening, treatment, and support he or she needs to fight cancer.