There are allies in the mission to end colorectal cancer, and then there was Jessica Buscho.
Jessica lived with stage IV (metastatic) colon cancer for more than five years. In that time, she balanced rigorous treatment, including multiple clinical trials, with what she considered her greatest purpose in life — being a mom.
A lover of science and people alike, Jessica found her way to an organization that harnesses and shares the power of both — the Colorectal Cancer Alliance — where she received support for her journey and then became a fierce advocate.
“No mother should ever have to worry about missing her children’s milestones,” Jessica told us last year, “and that’s why we must do everything we can to end this disease.”
Jessica did more than her share. With the Alliance, she highlighted the importance of clinical trial participation, advocated for reducing barriers to treatment, and battled for health equity. And late last year, she shared her story and family with us to increase awareness about the life-saving power of biomarker testing.
Jessica died September 18 at the age of 39. On Instagram, her family wrote:
Jess wants you all to know she didn’t lose, she didn’t give up, she didn’t battle, instead she sought solutions to end this horrific disease for all. She entered many different clinical trials with the hope of healing herself, but also with the broader realization of healing for future generations. She devoted her life to this goal.
For her immense service to the Alliance’s mission as a volunteer and never-ending compassion for patients and families, the Alliance honored Jessica with the Jeannie Moore Blue Heart Award on September 20, during the final moments of the AllyCon national conference in Philadelphia.
Speaking to conference attendees, the Alliance’s Kim Newcomer, Senior Manager of Medical Advocacy & Community Engagement, called Jessica a “friend, mentor, and ally,” and read the following quote from her:
“I know that something better is still coming for every cancer patient … When I did a clinical trial that I didn’t know would work, it gave me six more months; that's what it gave me, and what it provides the cancer community will be even more. Together, within this lifetime, we will see an end to this disease.”
The Alliance will always remember and be grateful for Jessica’s many contributions and, as she often said, we will encourage patients, survivors, and caregivers alike to “always be keeping your eyes on the horizon.”
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