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Talking Medical Marijuana, With Dr. Laura Porter

Cil3sgGWUAABaZIIn this episode I spoke to Dr. Laura Porter, Patient Advocate and Medical adviser to the Colon Cancer Alliance.

“Medicinal marijuana use is currently legal in
23 states and the District of Columbia. As more states approve marijuana use for medical indications, physicians will be asked by their patients for more information regarding the risks and benefits of use.” JAMA Oncology, published online March 17, 2016. We agree, so we want to cut through the noise and provide information for those of you considering this complimentary treatment option or for those already using it
for issues like chronic pain or nausea.

Interview With Colorectal Cancer Survivor, Elan Freedy

Elan Freedy

Interview Colorectal Cancer Survivor, Elan Freedy

In this episode of The Colon Cancer Podcast, I interviewed Elan Freedy. Elan was diagnosed with rectal cancer at the age of 42. Now, N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease), he devotes his spare time to advocacy work and talks about the need for early screening:

“Primary care physicians still only ask if you had incidences of cancer in you family – but for colorectal cancer, more nuance is needed. In my case, my father had pre-cancerous (adenomatous) polyps in his 40s, which means I probably should have started screening in my mid 30s. Pre-cancerous polyps are actually stage 0 cancer – but nobody really asks these questions. Adult children need to be talking to their parents and know if their parents had pre-cancerous polyps, and what age they were found; then discuss this information with their primary care physicians to determine whether they need early screening.”

Diagnosed With Colorectal Cancer at 28, With Kevin Hays

evin Hays

Diagnosed With Colon Cancer at 28, With Kevin Hays

Kevin Hays was diagnosed with Stage IIc colon cancer at age 28.  He went through surgery and chemo.  After finishing chemo he ran in the Buffalo Undy Run to boost awareness and afterwards volunteered to help with organizing for the the next year (this year!).  Working through the Buffalo Undy Run | Walk planning he helped resurrect the Blue Bash in Buffalo to broaden our reach with a new audience.  He also developed a new awareness initiative targeting the construction and real estate development industries called the Blue Hope Hard Hat Initiative (#protectyourass) as a way to help promote the 80% by 2018 initiative. To raise awareness, hundreds of construction workers and site managers in the Buffalo area are sporting the blue hard hats emblazoned with a comical, but serious message: “Protect Your Ass.” Since early January, he’s sold 600 of the blue hard hats at cost, about $10 apiece, with a goal of helping to boost colorectal screening rates.

To learn more about the Blue Hope Hard Hat initiative and to order your very own Blue Hard Hat, visit:

Kicking Cancer to the Curb, With Allyson Phelan-Eagan

Allyson Phelan-Eagan

Kicking Cancer to the Curb With Allyson Phelan-Eagan

Allyson Phelan-Eagan was diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer in February of 2012. After 8 months of chemotherapy, 2 months of radiation, 2 major surgeries, several outpatient procedures and a whole lot of pain she finally crushed cancer and began to immediately give back by producing interviews with doctors, survivors, caretakers, health professionals and more. She also began mentoring those newly diagnosed and speaking about her experience, the challenges and how to overcome cancer not only physically but also mentally and emotionally as well.  Her main motivation to LIVE were her children, Sophia and Connor who we only 4 and 6 at the time.  Allyson said nothing was going to stop her from raising them… including cancer.

Her #allaboutthatbassbootycampaign is designed to bring attention to the part of our body many people want to ignore. She states, “There is no need to feel embarrassed about getting a colonoscopy. We need to embrace our Booty and get checked. It can save your life.”

All of the models in Allyson’s, “BOOTY  PATROL,”  have  been directly affected by this dreadful disease called cancer. It has taken the lives of some of our dearest loved ones.

Allyson’s interview with Colon Cancer Alliance CEO, Michael Sapienza:


Click here to read Allyson’s interview in Viva Glam Magazine

Permission to Mourn; A New Way to Do Grief, With Tom Zuba

Tom Zuba

Permission to Mourn; A New Way to Do Grief, With Tom Zuba

I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Tom Zuba for this episode of The Colon Cancer Podcast. His book Permission to Mourn; A New Way to Do Grief (affiliate link) is, in my opinion, a book about love. In it, Tom illustrates that when someone you love dies, it is possible to love again; to love yourself, to love the one you mourn and to love life.

I hope that you will find comfort in Tom’s words as I did and if you know someone who has experienced grief – who hasn’t? – please share this episode with them.

Tom Zuba on The Oprah Winfrey Show:

Tom Zuba’s 10 Things:

Never Too Young For Colorectal Cancer, With Sandi Stupica

Sandi Stupica

Never Too Young For Colorectal Cancer, With Sandi Stupica

My name is Sandi Stupica and I live in Ypsilanti, MI. This is my sixth year as a high school English teacher at Ypsilanti New Tech. Well, kind of my sixth year. I have been out on long-term disability since September to recover from my two surgeries: the surgery to remove the tumor and, therefore, get the ostomy; and the surgery to remove the ostomy and get the j-pouch. It seems that the surgeries have been successful and I’m feeling much better now! I return to work on April 12trh. Woot!
My Diagnosis
My first year of teaching was in rural, middle-of-the-state Okeechobee, FL. I grew up in Michigan so I wanted to try and find a job in my home state for my second year of teaching. Even though I came back to Michigan, I met some great people in Chobee and stayed in contact via Facebook. In November of 2014, Jason, who was a 32-year-old teacher in Florida, posted that he was diagnosed with Stage 1 colorectal cancer (Later, he would find out that he actually had stage 3). He posted some of the symptoms and why he went to the doctor. I had been feeling discomfort like he had, but I thought I had a lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. Until 2015, I had no signs of rectal bleeding. To be safe, I reached out to him, as well as doctors. Luckily, my doctor recommended a colonoscopy. I had over forty polyps, and a two-inch tumor closer to my rectum. I had stage 3 colorectal cancer at 29-years-old.
Major Milestones
Having colorectal cancer is a battle. But, I also took on the battle of fertility preservation just in case my reproductive system reacted harshly to the chemotherapy. I decided to not have radiation to increase my chances of fertility in the future. My milestones to colorectal survival are the following: fertility preservation, chemotherapy (with oxaliplatin, leucovorin, and Fulfox5), surgery to remove the tumor and get the ostomy, and the final surgery of the J Pouch. I worked through the fertility preservation and chemotherapy.

Raising Awareness About Colon Cancer in the Latino Community, With Jasmin Mejia

Jasmin Mejia photo

Jasmin Mejia has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about Colon Cancer in the Latino Community. An active member of the Arizona chapter of the Colon Cancer Alliance, she was recognized by the Colon Cancer Alliance for her efforts. Here is an excerpt from her interview from their website,

Why did you get involved as a Colon Cancer Alliance volunteer? 

I decided to get involved because I wanted to find a way to honor my mother’s memory. She lost her fight against colon cancer at the young age of 42 years old. I was 19 years old when she died and I was her sole care taker. She had surgery early on to try and stop the cancer but it spread quickly throughout her body. After a long day of work, I would come home to care for her, help her change her colostomy bag, bath her and make sure she ate. I also helped with my younger siblings; the youngest was 5 years old at the time.

At that time, there was so little that we knew about this cancer and resources were nowhere to be found. One of the absolute hardest parts of having been through this experience was that, because her doctor was not bilingual, I was the one who had to tell my mom she wasn’t going to make it and would die from this horrible cancer. I volunteer because I don’t want anyone else to have this experience.

Why is Latino outreach vital when it comes to colon cancer? 

I think outreach to the Latino community is vital because prevention is not part of the Latino culture. Most Latinos go to the doctor only when they feel sick, especially the older generation. We also tend to be a lot more conservative when it comes to talking about our bodies, so getting a colonoscopy is sometimes viewed as embarrassing and no one wants to talk about it or acknowledge that they might need to have one done. With our current efforts in Latino outreach, hopefully we can continue moving this dial.

What do you get out of your volunteerism? 

I get a sense of hope that I may have saved a life by simply talking to others about my experience with my mom. Volunteering is what I do to honor my mom’s memory.

What would you like people to know about colon cancer? 

I would love for people to know that prevention is the most effective way to fight this cancer and beat it. Also, the colonoscopy itself is easy and the prep is nothing, especially if you consider that it could save your life!

– See more at:

Sue Kidera Returns With an Update on SBRT and Lonsurf

Sue Kidera

Sue Kidera

In this episode of The Colon Cancer Podcast, Sue Kidera, a stage 4 colon cancer survivor, returns to the show. She discusses her 10 year journey with colon cancer and her experience with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) and Lonsurf. Sue also talks about how, and why, she takes such an active role in her treatment plan and offers suggestions on how other patients can do the same.


Founder of “Dress in Blue Day,” Anita Mitchell Isler

Anita Mitchell Isler

Anita Mitchell Isler

In this episode, I have the pleasure of interviewing Anita Mitchell Isler, a stage 4 colon cancer survivor and the woman who founded “Dress in Blue Day.” Anita is also the founder of  Colon STARS,  a non-profit organization who’s mission is to save lives by educating people on the importance of colorectal cancer screening.

Join me as Anita shares her story of beating stage 4 colon cancer and how that motivated her to work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of people affected by colon cancer in the Seattle, Washington area and across North America.

Inspired By Her Daughter’s Memory, She Battles Colon Cancer

Stafon Harris-Jackson

Inspired by her daughter’s memory, she fights Colon Cancer.

Stafon Harris-Jackson radiates happiness and positivity. So much so, that you may not know she survived colon cancer twice—years after losing her daughter to childhood cancer. While many may have felt defeated, Stafon uses these experiences to help others through her newly formed cancer foundation and speaking engagements. You may have even spotted the 46-year-old Texas native at this year’s National Conference or Dallas/Fort Worth Undy Run/Walk. We’re excited to honor this Renaissance woman as our December Hero of the Month!

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

My purpose is to help—I’m a philanthropist and I talk about cancer every day. Sometimes I get emotional when I talk about it, but it feels good because I know my purpose is bigger than me.

I was introduced to cancer through my first daughter. I married at 18, didn’t attend college and had a child. I went through a lot during that marriage and also received another emotional blow when my daughter was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma in July 1998. Our doctors said she was terminal and gave us 14 more months with her—and they were right. She passed away at just three years old in September 1999. Eleven years later, on April 19, 2010, I was diagnosed with colon cancer.

How were you diagnosed with colon cancer?

I was a 40-year-old healthy woman with no family history and no recognizable symptoms. One day, I fell down while in my home alone. I tried to crawl to the phone to call for an ambulance, but I passed out. Luckily, my daughter came home early from a day of bowling with her friends to find me on the floor. I was rushed to the hospital and learned that I passed out because my appendix burst—I had perforation of the colon and a piece of my colon broke a part and wrapped itself around my appendix.

I recovered, but the cancer returned in 2013. It was hard this time because I couldn’t work and didn’t know about resources like the Colon Cancer Alliance and all of the great things the organization is doing. Now I know more and use this knowledge to spread colon cancer awareness, especially in the Hispanic and African American communities.

How did you learn about the Colon Cancer Alliance and what made you want to get involved?

Stefon Harris-Jackson

While searching online, I stumbled on the Terrance Howard video where he spoke about his connection to colon cancer and I thought, “I wish I’d known about the Colon Cancer Alliance! They could have helped me when I was sick.” Then, I went to the website, subscribed to the newsletter and learned about the National Conference. I’ve wanted to attend the conference since that moment, but couldn’t afford it. This year, however, I received an email about conference scholarships and applied; I was so happy to be one of the survivors chosen to attend!

Last month, I created a team for the Dallas/Fort Worth Undy and recruited people to join me—I want to spread the word about the Colon Cancer Alliance in Texas.

You’re so passionate about raising colon cancer awareness. What drives this passion?

When you look death in the face, it changes your life. My two battles literally changed my life. I realize now that I have a purpose. I do speaking engagements where I tell people the truth about living with colon cancer, screening and about this disease being preventable and treatable. I also talk about things people don’t want to talk about like looking at your stool, because if I don’t talk about it, who will?

You’re also involved in the cancer community at large; tell us about the foundation you started.  

Before my daughter passed, she said, “Mommy, when I become an angel, please don’t forget me.” That motivated me. I had no clue what I would do, but I knew I didn’t want to let my child down.

I formed the CNJ Cancer Foundation, named after my daughter Cherae Nekole Jackson, in 2014, and received nonprofit status this year. The CNJ Cancer Foundation is dedicated to assisting families affected by colon cancer and childhood cancer with financial and emotional support; this could mean anything from providing family counseling to simply helping families in need buy groceries.

What is your ultimate message?

My ultimate goal is to let everyone know that God has your back—keep living and keep believing. And in the words of my three-year-old, “Keep smiling.”



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