Archive for the ‘Colondar 2.0’ Category

Family Ties

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By Leighann Sturgin

My Lynch Syndrome comes from my Dad’s side of the family. We have the MSH2 gene mutation. My dad has had several polyps removed during colonoscopies over the years and has had several spots of skin cancer. (Both squamous cell and basal cell are related to Lynch.) Two of 6 of my dad’s siblings have had colon cancer in their 30’s. There is more colon cancer in previous generations too. There are 13 grandchildren on my dad’s …

ONE DAY OFF

happiness

By Leighann Sturgin
I’d like to have One Day Off. One day that I didn’t have to think about the crapsack on my belly. One day I didn’t hear the bag crinkle or my stoma didn’t make weird, loud, embarrassing noises. One day I’m not worried about the crapsack leaking. One day I didn’t need to know where every bathroom along my path was located. I just want one day off from my skin hurting all the time. I believe …

Happy New Year

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By Leighann Sturgin

Happy New Year! I’m so thankful to see 2016. The holidays were a little tough for me this year.

On 11/25/15 (the day before Thanksgiving) I had stoma revision surgery. I lost another 12” of small bowel leaving me with a total of 120 cm of intestine. I had a very retracted stoma making it impossible to get a ostomy wafer to seal. The skin around my “innie” stoma looked like hamburger. It hurt…all the time. After …

Perspective on Patience & Life

lauren miller blog

By Lauren Miller

On a recent flight back to Chicago, I had the pleasure of sitting next an 18-year-old male college student. It was an early morning flight, and we boarded the plane in record time. Due to this, our pilot announced we would have an early arrival. The young man said allowed, “Yes! I have a connecting flight and I was worried I’d miss it.” This gave him an immediate sense of relief, and we began talking about what …

Hope, Strength and Inspiration

Lauren Miller

By 2016 Colondar Model Lauren Miller

 

I recently found out my coworker is having preventive surgery for breast cancer. She is a 5-year

breast cancer survivor and had the genetic testing done. It was confirmed that she has BRCA-1

gene. Because of this, she is also getting a partial hysterectomy in December to remove her

fallopian tubes. She will then get double mastectomy in March. What struck me as surreal was

that she is 52 years old, and came

I’m Stuck

Leighann

I’m stuck…I’m stuck between a world of cancer and wellness. I’m very grateful to be cancer-free but I’m far from healthy. It’s a lonely place. Sometimes I find myself jealous, even resentful of people who beat cancer and carry on with “normal” life. Then I’m quickly reminded of the many friends who have finished the race and are now resting then I feel guilty. I do not envy my friends who are on chemo indefinitely, or the ones who’ve run …

2016 Colon Camp

2016 colondar-family

By 2016 Colondar Model Phuong Gallagher

 

Eight years ago today, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Although the cancer itself was not a blessing, some of the things that it brought me absolutely are. It has given me the experience and with it the wisdom to help those that are lost somewhere in the journey through their own diagnosis. It has also taken me through my own journey where I have met precious friends along the way. Too often …

Belle Strong

Belle Strong cropped

By Leighann Sturgin

After a respectful ‘moment’ of blog silence, it’s only fitting this blog entry should be in honor of our beloved Belle. She and I developed a relationship while writing for this blog together over the last 9 months. She was an amazing, honest, genuine, person with an infectious smile and delicious laugh. She didn’t bother with fluff, she knew there was no time for it.

I’d read many of her stories on The Colon Club blog but …

Last Time?

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by Leighann  Sturgin

“Wonder if this will be the last time we’ll all be together?” said my new friend and colon cancer sister, Lindsey. We’d just spent the past 5 days at the 2015 Colondar 2.0 photo shoot with 10 other colon cancer survivors being treated like rock stars by the Colondar staff, many of whom are survivors themselves having modeled in previous Colondars. We were sitting in a Nashville airport restaurant waiting to fly home, back to our real …

You Have Cancer

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By Tina Seymour

“You had cancer. You understand what I’m going through.”
Yes. And also, no.
No, I don’t.
If you’re talking about the big picture of cancer…the finding out…the gut check when it feels like you’ve been kicked in the ribs by a mule. The momentary silence that descends…ears ringing…floor looking a Hell of a lot closer as you grope behind you for something to hold onto so you don’t face plant on it…sinking to your knees at the …

The Cancer After Cancer

Andrew Elder

by Andrew Elder

To paraphrase Nietzsche: that which doesn’t kill you will often leave you flat broke. It’s the side-effect of cancer that often gets overlooked in movies, books and blogs. And it’s a quiet affliction. Even 5Ks or bake sales raising money for families with a cancer diagnosis don’t often say; “Hey, we’re frickin’ BROKE here!” It’s the “after-cancer”, the one that even the cancer you beat can leave behind, the cancer of financial destitution. I’ve been there, …

Secrets

Troy
by Belle Piazza

“What do you think?” I asked my husband as he put my latest blog down and glanced up at me.
“You spent a lot of time writing that didn’t you?” he replied. Not what I expected nor wanted to hear. He clearly wasn’t impressed. “It’s not what you normally write. You’re dancing all over the place – every paragraph could be a blog”. He was right. I touched on many things but didn’t focus on any one. …

Not Alone

2015 Models

by Leighann Dunn Sturgin

It was coming up on the 10 year anniversary of my March 2004 diagnosis. I started to wonder if there were any other young, ten year, stage IV colon cancer, Lynch Syndrome, survivors, living life after cancer. I thought the odds of finding someone just like me were pretty slim. For ten years, I felt so isolated and alone in the small, Amish country, Ohio town where I live. Initially, after my diagnosis, I sought out …

Fitness Against Cancer

photo of Jose

by Jose Baez

As I wipe the sweat off my face, I look around the gym and see the familiar faces of gym-goers and reflect how this routine part of my life played an important role in overcoming stage four colon cancer. In high school, I played soccer and wrestling. During my college years, I started running as a way to stay fit and found it to be a great stress reliever. Although I still loved running, my career and …

David Dubin is AliveAndKickn

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by Belle Piazza

I first met David Dubin at The Colondar photo shoot in June of 2011. I can’t say I remember the exact moment we met, but what I do remember is hearing voice. He has a voice that is reminiscent of Barry White with a little Nicholas Cage mixed in to lighten it up just a bit. Visualize that ladies. At the Colondar shoot it was difficult for me to hear the stories of the models – because …

Colon Cancer Stars!

Polly Polyp

by Belle Piazza
The April sponsor for the 2013 Colondar is an organization close to my heart and close to my home – Colon Cancer Stars in Seattle, Washington. Founded by former Colondar Model (April 2007) and friend of mine, Anita Mitchell and her friend and fellow stage 4 colon cancer survivor, Carmen Mitchell. Anita and Carmen met during treatment for stage 4 colon cancer in 2005 and instantly became friends. Both diagnosed in their early 40’s with stage 4 …

COLON CANCER CHALLENGE FOUNDATION New York Colon Cancer Challenge – April 7, 2013

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By Belle Piazza

When I first joined The Colon Club in 2008, one of the first things I did was order myself a copy of the The Colondar. I’ve had a current Colondar hanging on my kitchen wall ever since.

The Colondar is one of the main ways the The Colon Club spreads awareness and education of colorectal cancer to everyone who sees it, as well as hope and inspiration for those of us fighting the disease.

Publishing The Colondar …

Media Alert: Young colon cancer survivors available for interviews during March’s colon cancer awareness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Feb. 14, 2013 – March is colon cancer awareness month – a time when stories featuring “butts and guts” become appropriate for the nightly newscast. The Colon Club has a database of young colorectal cancer survivors from across the U.S. available for interviews and willing to share their stories. To set up an interview with a nearby colon cancer survivor, please email Danielle@semicoloncomm.com or call (816) 729-7760.

Why feature colon cancer in young adults?

meaghan-volk-1-colon-cancerTraditionally, colon …

Meet Brian Novak – Mr. January 2013

Meet Brian – a stage III colon cancer survivor, diabetic and world traveler.

Sometimes, facing a life-threatening disease can leave you paralyzed with fear. Although you’re fighting hard to save your life … through treatment and beyond it can be scary to live your life.

Be inspired by Brian as he explains that he doesn’t let his sicknesses or health stop him from living his life. Watch as he talks about some of his amazing life experiences that have come …

The Colon Club Adds Teen Survivor, Healthcare Marketer to Board

WILTON, N.Y. – Jan. 17, 2013 – Advocating colon cancer awareness and colonoscopy screening isn’t an easy job. Luckily, two women with a passion for colon cancer and a background in marketing have joined the Board of Directors of The Colon Club to help. Danielle Ripley-Burgess, colorectal cancer survivor diagnosed in her teens, and Debbie Donovan, healthcare marketing consultant, are the two newest board members to join the non-profit group.

“These two ladies bring a tremendous amount of experience and …

Friend, Foe or Family?

Belle Piazza, Danielle Ripley Burgess, Krista Waller, Adam Benlon

by Belle Piazza

My brother e-mailed me the other day to compliment me on my latest blog entry for The Colon Club, which was nice I thought (the compliment that is). Then he suggested I blog about how a survivors family members are affected by their cancer diagnosis. It’s a good thing he couldn’t see my face when I read that e-mail – as he would have been greeted with a …

It’s That Time of Year Again

by Belle Piazza

It’s that time of year again. Christmas, sure, but what I’m talking about is applying to be a model in the 2014 Colondar; the photo shoot for which will take place in June of 2013. As a 2012 model myself, I can’t believe how long its been since I was the lucky one in front of the camera, all made up and pretty for my photo shoot. Of course The Colondar can only accommodate 12 models each …

Meet Miss December | Reagan Barnett

You can imagine our surprise when we sat down with Reagan and asked, “How did you feel when you were diagnosed with colon cancer at age 22?” and her immediate response:  “Relieved.” But for someone with colon cancer running through her family and years worth of symptoms and pain, she was happy to finally have answers. Read on to learn more about Miss December, Reagan Barnett, a great spokesperson and advocate for colorectal cancer, and especially …

Meet Miss November | Paige Hartmann

Yes, it’s true. This beautiful gal that’s featured as Miss November is a survivor of colon cancer… diagnosed at age 21. The Colon Club was thrilled to meet her and have her model for us in the 2012 Colondar. Read on to learn more about Paige!

paige-hartmann-21-year-old-colon-cancerThe BASICS

Name: Paige Hartmann

Diagnosis: Stage III rectal cancer in October 2009.

Age at Diagnosis: 21

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when you found out you had colon cancer? 

I was …

Meet Ms. October | Staci Wills

Now although she does have striking resemblance to her, October’s model is not Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie. It’s Staci Wills, a brave rectal cancer survivor from Canfield, OH. Read on to learn more about this funny, charming survivor we’re proud to call one of our own at The Colon Club.

The BASICS

Staci-wills-stage-3-rectal-cancerName: Staci Wills

Diagnosis: Stage III rectal cancer in July 2009.

Age at Diagnosis: 32

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when

Meet Mr. September | Adam Benlon

Turning the calendar to Mr. September makes us smile anyway, but especially because we get to stare at Adam for the next month. Not only is his story of survivorship inspiring, but his jokes and humor make him extra fun. Enjoy getting to know this latest colon survivor!

Adam-benlon-colon-cancer-survivorThe BASICS

Name: Adam Benlon

Diagnosis: Stage IIIc colon cancer on  August 18, 2009

Age at Diagnosis: 29

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when you found out you had colon

Musings on my patient/caregiver relationship

by Staci Wills

From the day I was diagnosed until the day I rang the closing bell on chemo, I tried my best to avoid hearing the statistics, small percentages, possible side effects associated with my cancer, but I also avoided other colorectal cancer patients.  That sounds harsh, but I didn’t want to hear what could, might, or would happen to me.  I didn’t want to hear what the statistics said about Stage III rectal cancer.  I didn’t want to …

Meet Miss August | Melissa Bates

Woo hoo! We are so excited to introduce you to this beautiful young woman, Miss August! Not only is she so cuper cute, but she’s also got one of the biggest hearts you’ll find. Read on to learn a little bit more about Miss August, Melissa Bates.

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The BASICS about MELISSA BATES

Name: Melissa Bates

Diagnosis: Stage III rectal cancer on October 2, 2008

Age at Diagnosis: 20

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when you found out you

Cancerversary – When Is It?

by Staci Wills

This week marks my three-year cancerversary – I think? Do you celebrate your cancerversary based on the day you were diagnosed or the day you finished chemo? Three years, in relation to my age (35), is a very short time. Three years goes by so quickly. Major life changes happen in just three years. I remember that when I was 10, I thought I would never be a teenager. At 13, I thought 16 would never arrive. …

Finding My Voice – Part 3 of 3 – Finding My Inner Voice

Read part 1 of 3 here

Read part 2 of 3 here

By Belle Piazza

 

As a Colondar Model I was able to meet and connect with people who would later offer me various opportunities to become involved in raising awareness.  Some offers I have jumped at, others I have politely declined.  I’ve learned that for me to be effective, I need to feel passionate about what I’m doing – AND to have fun with it.  If it seems …

Finding My Voice – Part 2 of 3 – Call on Congress

Read Part 1 of 3

 

Every March, National Colo-rectal Cancer Awareness Month, I write a letter to the editor at our small local newspaper discussing colo-rectal cancer and the importance of colonoscopies. Every year it gets published. I live in a small town and most all letters to the editor get published, including the ones that preach about the apocalypse, complain about potholes and advocate for the rights of sea lions. But still, I consider it an accomplishment. I’ve …

Finding My Voice – Part 1 of 3

Part 1 of 3 – Becoming an Advocate

It was fall in the Pacific Northwest, my absolute favorite time of year. Fall of 2007 was an especially bright one; lots of sunshine, vibrant fall colors and that cool crispness in the air. I got my kids safely on the school bus and headed down to CVS Pharmacy in Vancouver to run an errand I’d been particularly dreading.

As I drove south on 503 there were a dozen or so places …

Meet Mr. July – Tim Maiorca

Welcome Mr. July! We’re excited to introduce you to this brave stage IV survivor and share his story with you. And you’re welcome ladies, we know many of you are aren’t going to mind seeing him all month!

Tim-maorica-stage4-colon-cancer-survivorThe BASICS about TIM MAIORCA

Name: Tim Maiorca

Diagnosis: Stage IV colon cancer on March 20, 2002

Age at Diagnosis: 37

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when you found out you had colon cancer? 

I was at work. I went …

Celebrating Success — Another Milestone Achieved!

by Staci Wills

Well, I did it! I have been irrigating my colostomy for several months, and for the most part my bowels are pretty regular. Like I said a few days ago, I have never had the courage to wear only a stoma cap outside the walls of my house, but yesterday I did it, and I plan to do it again today! Wearing the stoma cap meant that I could wear a regular bathing suit without the “granny …

Irrigation: It’s Not Just For Crops Anymore!

by Staci Wills

 

This blog won’t always be about ostomies, but since Belle opened the door, here is another spin on life as an ostomate.

At 32, I was diagnosed with Stage III rectal cancer. Because of how low in the rectum my tumor was located, I had no other option but to have a colostomy. Not having any other options, I quickly accepted that this would be my new way of life, but accepting something and embracing it …

The Colostomy Conundrum – Part 3

by Belle Piazza

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

February 14, 2011 was by far, one of the best days of my entire life.  Not because it was Valentines Day but because that was the day I received a phone call from Erika Kratzer from The Colon Club, informing me that I had been selected as one of the 2012 Colondar Models.  I was beside myself with joy.  I couldn’t believe my luck.   If I had a bucket list, this …

The Colostomy Conundrum | Part 2

By Belle Piazza

Read Part 1 of the Colostomy Conundrum

I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge.  I may not be jumping out of an airplane with a flimsy fabric parachute on my back, but suffice it to say, I’m not a wimp.  To reverse or not to reverse – that was the question.   I compared the pros and cons of having an ostomy vs. not having one.  But in all honesty, for anyone facing this decision, …

The Colostomy Conundrum | Part 1 of 3

by Belle Piazza

I honestly can’t say that it came as a complete surprise to me as I lay there in my hospital bed in my post colonoscopy haze to hear the word “cancer”.  I had to hear it several times as the anesthesia made me pretty loopy; but each time the word was spoken I just sort of took it in.  Not thrilled of course, but not shocked.  My father died of colon cancer at the age of 67.  …

Meet Ms. June – Kim Hall Jackson

Kim Hall Jackson – what a gem. She’s our Ms. June and boy does she have a great story. Read on to learn not only about how she survived rectal cancer but how she continues to make a difference and continually give back – constantly grateful for every blessing in her life.

kim-hall-jackson-rectal-cancerThe BASICS about KIM HALL JACKSON

Name: Kim Hall Jackson

Diagnosis date: Stage III rectal cancer in December 2008 (originally diagnosed with Stage I, re-diagnosed after surgery.)

Age …

Meet Ms. May – Connie Belden

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate May Day than to introduce you to Connie Belden. She’s one of the quickest-witted people we know and brings a smile to everyone she meets. And a joke. Learn a little bit more about Ms. May 2012, Connie Belden!

The BASICS about CONNIE BELDEN

Connie-belden-colon-cancer-survivorName: Connie Belden

Diagnosis date: Stage I colon cancer on October 6, 2006

Age: 32

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when you found out you

Meet Mr. April – Dan Wilson

We know it’s April Fools Day and all but our newest Colondar model to be featured throughout April is no joke. Dan’s a marathoner who’s run a race in all 50 states. His story is inspiring, encouraging and eye-opening. Read on to learn a little bit more about Mr. April 2012, Dan Wilson!

dan-wilson-colon-cancer-survivorThe BASICS about DAN WILSON

Name: Dan Wilson

Diagnosis date: Stage III colon cancer in December 2005

Age: 47

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when

Meet Mr. March 2012 | Roger Rojas

Happy Colon Cancer Awareness Month! To celebrate, meet one amazing survivor, Mr. March, Roger Rojas!

Roger is an avid runner, Steelers fan (although he’s from Texas) and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Read on to learn a little bit more about him.

The BASICS about ROGER ROJAS

Roger-Rojas-colon-cancer-survivorName: Roger Rojas

Diagnosis date: October 7, 2008 at age 32 with Stage III rectal cancer.

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when you found out you had colon

Announcing the 2013 Models!

We’ve got another AMAZING group of models that will be showing off their scars and sharing their stories with everyone in the 2013 Colondar!

Please join us in celebrating our next round of Colondar models!

Gals in the 2013 Colondar

Dawn Gagliardi- Smyrna, GA

Dana Holbrook- Point Pleasant, NJ

Carolyn Hunt- Calabasas, CA

Tia Jones- Wichita, KS

Kelly Kuster- Milwaukee, WI

Kerryn Miller- Seattle, WA

Meaghan Volk- Peoria, AZ

Guys in the 2013 Colondar:

Sanjay Bery- Basking Ridge, NJ

Doug …

Meet Miss February 2012 – Belle Piazza

February is the month of love, and oh how fitting that as we introduce Miss February 2012.

Belle Piazza is a charming mom of two and avid gardener from Battle Ground, WA. She’s fun, spirited and a fighter. Read on to learn a little bit more about Belle.

The BASICS about BELLE PIAZZA

belle-piazza.the-colon-club-cancer-survivorName: Belle Piazza
Diagnosis date: October 23, 2007 (a day before her son’s 5th birthday) with stage IIIc rectal cancer at age 43
Currently undergoing chemotherapy.

 …

Meet Mr. January 2012 – David Dubin

Today we get to break open the seal and hang up our 2012 Colondars! And this brave cowboy is the first to grace the pages as Mr. January 2012.

David Dubin is a three-time cancer survivor from Haworth, NJ. You might have already read his Colondar bio to learn about his story of cancer survival, but here are some other fun facts that you may not have known about our Mr. January 2012. We sat down with him at …

2013 Colondar Model Applications

Our application process has begun and we’re now taking applications for 2013 Colondar Models.

Download The 2013 Colondar Model Application

How To Apply For The Colondar:

Please download the application, and fill it out completely. When you turn in the application, we’ll need:

  • The completed 2013 application.
  • A photo (one that shows your surgical scar – or lack of one)
  • A long bio (see past model bios to get an idea of what we are looking for.)

Send your completed …

Gift Guide for the Colon Cancer Survivor

In just a few days, our newspapers will be shoved full of ads and stores will be going crazy! Black Friday is upon us! If you’re starting to make your Christmas shopping list and trying to figure out what to buy the colon cancer survivor in your life, we have a few ideas! Coming from a community full of “semicolons,” here are some gifts that some of us wouldn’t mind getting … and watch out, they may just be what …

The 2012 Colondar is Here!

The wait is over!

The Colon Club is happy to unveil the next group of thirteen remarkable colon/rectal cancer survivors.

Set in the natural outdoors of the Lake George, NY area, this baby is one-of-a-kind.

Models bravely reveal their surgical scars surrounded by rolling hills, blue skies and the natural outdoors. Each photo shows that there is beauty in cancer survival, even as unnatural or unusual as colon cancer before age 50 can be.

Buy a 2012 Colondar!

The 2012