From the ground to the sky, traffic reporter John Morrissey is knocking out colon cancer one mile at a time. His efforts as emcee at this year’s Denver Undy Run/Walk, just months after he learned he had colon cancer, is a testament to his courage and generous spirit. That’s why we’re honored to have him as our Hero of the Month!
Read on to learn more about how John got involved in the Undy Run and his advice to others who’ve been recently diagnosed.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m the airborne traffic reporter for KOA NewsRadio in Denver. I’m up there every morning and afternoon in a helicopter helping people get where they need to go. I’ve been doing traffic here in Denver since 2000 and I’ve been in the KOA JetCopter for the last three years.
How did you get involved in the Undy Run/Walk?
I got involved in the Undy Run/Walk through the radio station. We often get requests to help emcee events, so in April I agreed to help with the Denver Undy. I had no idea that three weeks later I’d be diagnosed with colon cancer following a routine colonoscopy.
What was your favorite part of the Undy Run?
My first Undy Run/Walk was amazing. It was a wonderful morning of fellowship, hope and joy under a bright blue Colorado sky. But, my favorite part had to be the giant, inflatable colon—I’d never seen one of those before!
How has the Colon Cancer Alliance helped you through your diagnosis?
There is an old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know” and boy, that was certainly true when I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I felt so scared and so alone. But, I wasn’t alone—I had ccalliance.org. The information, support and advice there is amazing. I was diagnosed late Friday afternoon. After a rather sleepless night, I spent the rest of the weekend exploring the website by learning about the different stages of colon cancer and some of the things ahead of me. It was a tremendous help for me and for my family to have so much valuable information at our fingertips.
What advice would you give someone who has just been newly diagnosed?
First, be gentle with yourself. Your emotions are bouncing all over the place. One minute you’ll laugh. The next minute you’ll cry. It’s okay. Cancer is scary stuff, but there is a team of doctors, nurses and cancer professionals mobilizing to help you through this. My other piece of advice is to call the free Colon Cancer Alliance Helpline at (877) 422-2030. Talk with a Patient Support Navigator. Lean on them. Lean on them hard. They've been through this and will help get you through this, too.
To find an Undy Run/Walk near you, visit undyrunwalk.org. Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have additional questions about colon cancer screening or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help.