Guest Blog by Kenny Toye, Featured Survivor in 2017 Colondar
After my last chemo treatment, the nurse disconnected me from the chemo device that was attached to me every 2 weeks for two days, I thought the world would celebrate with me like I won the Super Bowl, The NBA championship and The Kentucky Derby. I realized quickly that unlike winning a championship, at the conclusion of cancer treatment; there was no trophy presentation, no Gatorade shower, no monetary bonuses, no new cars. A cancer survivor is allowed one simple, priceless and immeasurable thing: We took death by the horns, wrestled it to the ground and got it hog-tied.
I started realizing changes. Besides the physical changes and chemotherapy side-effects. My overall perspective of life forever changed. I began to distance myself from certain groups of people and mentally checking myself out of specific situations. When people complain, I would get pissed off. When I offered my opinion, I was cut-throat with my delivery and rebuttal. Death was on my shoulder and in my mind constantly.
I’m a rebel and I break the rules. I don’t like taking advice from people unless they’re my doctor. It was tough to take advice from an older colon cancer survivor because we didn’t see eye to eye with most things. I’m still trying to build my life and most of the advice I received was from someone who has lived a great deal of theirs. A 27 year-old cancer patient’s road to recovery can be extremely lonely. I felt like a broken record talking to my friends about my issues. I wanted to have a conversation about my body changes and issues that I was trying to over come.
I was introduced to a non-profit organization who supports colon cancer patients and survivors aged 50 and under by connecting with someone who was diagnosed with colon cancer at a young age. We talked for hours about genes, bathrooms, medicines and cancer. He referred me to an organization named: The Colon Club and instructed me to sign up for “Colon Camp”
As soon as I got of the phone, I looked up TCC and immediately signed up for “The Colondar” I breezed through the “Colondar 2017” model application and submitted my application and a few months later on Easter Sunday, I got a call from someone referencing the Colon Club.
“Hey Kenny, I am proud to let you know that your application for Colon Camp has been accepted and I would like to welcome you to the Colon Club!”
I had no idea what that message meant at the time. I followed the instructions emailed to me. I sorta felt like I was being scammed. I received a blue t-shit that said “SURVIVOR” in the mail, flight itinerary to Nashville, Tennessee as well as a few hundred friend requests on Facebook. I kept my expectations low and decided to follow through with these simple requests.
Upon arrival to Tennessee, I met up with 11 other people at the Nashville airport, wearing the same shirts. I boarded a limo with these strangers and we set course through rural Tennessee. My radar was constantly on. During this limo ride, I searched for landmarks, just in case I was being kidnapped.
Colon camp was the celebration of colon cancer that I always dreamed. No matter how much I write about my experience and love for TCC, I feel the need to amend my statement for a newfound describing phrase. I arrived at colon camp as a lonely survivor and left with an inspiring family. The details of my 5 day “all expenses paid” experience cannot be explained. How would someone describe Heaven? To each their own.
Thank you to all of the past colon club attendees and current models. You have created a special family and the best is yet to come!
-Kenny Toye, Future Colondar Supermodel =)