We continue to be inspired by all the volunteers on the front lines spearheading efforts to put colon cancer on the map. That’s why we started the Volunteer of the Quarter feature—to honor and celebrate some of our most passionate, dedicated volunteers.
This quarter we’re spotlighting superstar volunteer and host of The Colon Cancer Podcast Lee Silverstein. Lee has used his personal experience with colon cancer to give back and help others by volunteering in our online communities, Undy Run/Walk and more. You may have even seen him interview patients, survivors and experts at one of our conferences. Learn about Lee, his podcast and why you should get involved!
When did you find out about the Colon Cancer Alliance and what inspired you to volunteer?
I found the Colon Cancer Alliance when I was first diagnosed in 2011 through the daily online chat community, which is incredibly supportive. I quickly learned how lucky I was compared to so many others; this feeling of gratitude is still with me and inspired me to make a difference in the lives of people affected by colorectal cancer.
You've been very involved in our Tampa Undy Engagement Committee. Can you explain what it's like being a committee member?
The Undy Run/Walk is an event where we can physically see the impact we have on the lives of those touched by this disease. I’m fortunate to be able to work with a group of passionate, dedicated people.
Tell us about your podcast and what motivated you to start it!
I launched The Colon Cancer Podcast in February 2015 as a way to provide information, inspiration and, most significantly, hope to those affected by colorectal cancer. Hearing the words "you have cancer" is devastating. Sharing the stories of patients, survivors, caregivers and medical professionals is my way of letting people know it's possible to beat this disease or “live with it" as I have for the past six years.
How has your experience with cancer shaped you as a podcast host?
My experience has helped me ask my guests the right questions and, more importantly, put them at ease. It's fairly common for guests to be a bit nervous when we begin our interview and I work hard to make it feel more like a conversation among friends rather than an actual interview.
I was overwhelmed by the number of people at last year’s Live Your Best Life mCRC Symposium who thanked me for creating the podcast. So many people told me how they, or their loved ones, listen all the time and that it gives them hope.
What would you tell someone who’s interested in volunteering with the Colon Cancer Alliance?
When I had my first recurrence in 2013, I decided that, along with exercise, making other people feel good made me feel better. Nothing is greater than volunteering your time to make others feel better.
It will probably surprise people to hear that the six years after my diagnosis have been some of the best years of my life. I married the woman of my dreams (my beautiful wife Linda), landed a job with a great company and get to positively impact people's lives. The Colon Cancer Podcast’s story will be showcased in “The Messengers; A Podcast Documentary,” which is a feature length film being released at the end of February. I will also be a keynote speaker at a major podcasting conference. Every day I try to focus on my AGE: Attitude, Gratitude and Exercise.
Visit our website to learn ways you can get involved. Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have additional questions about screening or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help!