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Colorectal cancer doesn’t stop for COVID-19. We know this, and the Alliance remains dedicated to the mission of ending colorectal cancer in our lifetime. 

But that doesn’t mean we haven’t made a few organizational changes, with the health and well-being of staff in mind. Today, we are all working from home and discovering, just as you are, what this post-COVID-19 reality is all about.

In this staff interview, we chat with Nancy Butterfield, Director of Patient & Family Support, about work and life since the coronavirus pandemic. We also take a trip down memory lane.  

How did you come to the Alliance?

My mother is a 25 year, stage-III survivor. That’s something myself and an Alliance co-founder, Jeannie Moore, both had in common. We met when our children were young, and it was a coincidence that both her mom and my mom were stage-III survivors. She was involved with what was then called the Colon Cancer Alliance. I started volunteering and helping her do things here and there, and then we started job-sharing. 

What happened before the Alliance? 

I worked in our family’s restaurant supply business when my children were young. And before that, I was an insurance claims adjuster. 

Tell us about your kids.

I have two. My son is 33, married, and has a baby on the way. My daughter is engaged. They both live in San Francisco. My son is funny and outgoing, and is going to be a great dad! My daughter is funny and very level-headed. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, her wedding, scheduled for July, will be postponed. It’s stressful, to say the least. 

How are you dealing with it all? 

Puzzles, adult beverages, books, long walks, and eating. Unfortunately, that seems to be the joke going around the internet. Everyone is coming out of this 20 pounds heavier. And now that my husband Jerry is home, he’s feeding me, so I’m gaining weight, too. He is making full-on breakfasts, and I never ate breakfast before. He’ll make lunch, too!

How do you like working from home? 

I get so much more done. There’s so much time you get back when you don’t have to make yourself ready, walk out the door, and commute. You can just work, plus there are fewer interruptions. My morning commute usually entails not tripping over the cat!  

You mentioned reading. Do you have a recommendation? 

My latest favorite is The Nightingale. It walks you through history from the perspective of two estranged sisters, starting from the first bombings in France as World War II was heating up. It was a page turner—the author keeps you engaged. And on top of that, there was a lot of history that I don't remember learning. 

OK, some odds-and-ends now. What was your first car? 

I had a bad ass first car. It was a 1964-and-a-half Mustang, the first year they ever made them. To be clear, I didn't have that car in 1964, I bought it used. It was blue-gray. It was a three-speed, and just so much fun cruising around Concord, California, changing the gears. Now I drive an Acura MDX. I would like the Mustang better, but it didn't have air conditioning. 

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Right now, I’m more of a cat person. I love dogs, but I don’t want that burden and responsibility right now. With a cat, you can leave for the weekend. She’s a rescue, and she’s feisty, but she likes me the best. 

Where’s your favorite place to visit?

Our children are in San Francisco, so we go there, stay for the weekend, and just get away. We also like to go to Lake Tahoe. But lately, it’s been San Francisco. At least, that’s what we used to do before the virus. 

Finally, Nancy, what’s your favorite part about working at the Alliance? 

Working with an organization that believes we can make a difference in colorectal cancer care, prevention, and research inspires me every day. I am fortunate to work with a compassionate team of patient and family support navigators who have personal connections to the disease. Dealing with colorectal cancer during these fearful times, people are looking for trusted sources of information, and I am proud to be able to help.  

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is here for you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our COVID-19 resource page for more information and links to support.


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