When registered nurse Allison DePinto visited her primary care physician with complaints of gastritis pain at the age of 29, the last thing she thought it could be was colorectal cancer. But now she is battling the disease—and taking steps to end it forever at the Jersey Shore Undy RunWalk on July 14.
“When I was first diagnosed, I was in shock. I thought this was an older person’s disease,” said DePinto. “Even as a nurse, I never heard of colorectal cancer being diagnosed at such a young age, but my gastroenterologist saved my life because she didn’t ignore my symptoms.”
Thanks to the diligence of her physician who ordered several tests including a colonoscopy, the cancer was detected. The American Cancer Society has recently recommended lowering the standard age for a colonoscopy from 50 to 45. However, DePinto wasn’t even 30 at the time of her late-stage diagnosis. Young-onset colorectal cancer diagnoses like DePinto’s make up approximately 10% of the overall colorectal cancer diagnoses.
Being diagnosed with colorectal cancer has dramatically changed DePinto’s life. Prior to her diagnosis, DePinto and her husband were beginning to think about starting a family. She has frozen some of her embryos and her sister has agreed to be a surrogate for her.
“My long-term goals were to start a family and move ahead in my nursing career. Now I take every day, one day at time,” said DePinto. “My long-term goals are to live, be with my husband and family, and enjoy life as much as I can.”
Depinto is participating in the Jersey Shore Undy RunWalk for the second year in a row at Great Lawn at Pier Village. The Undy RunWalk is a family-friendly 5K organized by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, whose mission it is to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime through providing support services, awareness of preventive measures, and funding critical research. The Undy RunWalk is held in 22 cities across the U.S.