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Every month at the Colon Cancer Alliance, we have a staff-wide meeting to make sure everyone’s up to speed with what’s going on across departments. At these meetings, one staff member is asked to share a “why we do what we do” story.

It can be easy to get caught up in the busyness of our day-to-day jobs, and these stories remind us why we’re sitting where we are. When we’re bogged down with tasks and deadlines, it’s encouraging to pause for a moment and reflect on the mission we’re serving: knocking colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers.

[caption id="attachment_941" align="alignright" width="288"]Melissa Bjorklund, Patient Support & Outreach Senior Coordinator at the Colon Cancer Alliance. Melissa Bjorklund, Patient Support & Outreach Senior Coordinator at the Colon Cancer Alliance.[/caption]

For our October staff call, I was asked to share a story from the Patient Support team. What came to mind was not one single story, but rather a theme that ran across many stories. I wanted to share how the Colon Cancer Alliance connects people and what a powerful thing that is.

Many people come to us at times of crisis; after all, cancer is not at the forefront of most people’s minds until they or a loved one are diagnosed. It’s during these moments of devastation and fear that people search online and come across our website, call our Helpline or are recommended to us at the doctor’s office.

And while they may initially be in search of answers or hope, the most important thing they find is that they are not alone. We are a vibrant community of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates, and we’re here to tell you that we’ve been in your shoes; we know what you’re going through and so do the nearly one million colon cancer survivors (and their families) across the country.

We’re survivors who have been living fulfilled lives in spite of this disease for five, ten, even fifteen years after diagnosis. We’re knowledgeable patients and caregivers who have dealt with all kinds of medications and side effects and can help navigate how to thrive during treatment. We’re an experienced and compassionate staff that’s committed to our cause.

Connecting with the Colon Cancer Alliance has been a true lifeline for many in our community. “The My CCA Support Online Community was a lifesaver for me,” says stage III survivor Mark. “I was lost and confused, and the cancer survivors in the chat room were able to help me through all of my difficulties because they had experienced the same things I had. Now that I am a survivor, I try to give back by helping newly diagnosed patients with the issues they’re experiencing. Also, I think the fact that I am a nine-year survivor might let these folks know there is hope for them too. “

I am proud to work for an organization that has such a vital impact on people’s lives. Being on staff at the Colon Cancer Alliance isn’t just a job, it’s a family.

Melissa Bjorklund is the Colon Cancer Alliance Patient Support & Outreach Senior Coordinator. She has been with the Colon Cancer Alliance since 2009 managing varying roles and responsibilities until recently joining the Patient Support team. Aside from the vital role she fills within the organization, Melissa prides herself on being the office’s chief cat enthusiast and undefeated pie baking champion.


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