Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. This disease affects men and women of all races and ages. It’s also affecting more and more people under 50—that’s right, colon cancer isn’t an “old white man’s disease.”
I have a personal connection to colon cancer. My mother, legendary entertainer Eartha Kitt, died from the disease on Christmas Day in 2008. She was active, fit and never got screened for colon cancer, feeling she was always healthy enough that she didn’t need see a doctor. Looking back, however, she had many symptoms she would shrug off thinking they were nothing more than a momentary discomfort. By the time she went for her first colonoscopy, we discovered she had stage III colon cancer; we learned the cells had migrated towards the liver after her surgery.[caption id="attachment_1925" align="alignright" width="206"] Kitt Shapiro, Colon Cancer Alliance Board Member and founder of Simply Eartha.[/caption]
I have transitioned from my mother’s caregiver during treatment to the caretaker of her amazing legacy. I created a lifestyle brand, Simply Eartha™, “accessories that say something,” where I celebrate my mother by incorporating her words, and even her handwriting, in my designs. Additionally, $10 of every item from Simply Eartha’s “Products that Give Back” is donated to the Colon Cancer Alliance. I also sit on the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Board of Directors and have made it my mission to get us talking about the importance of screening and early detection.
I knew without a doubt my mother loved me—that was the greatest gift she ever gave me. I often sort through her handwritten pages and find thoughts she wrote about and to me, like this one:
Mirrors cannot hold the image of you I hold in my eyes
I will bring the skies down to earth for you
The feelings I have for you are etched upon my heart and soul.
My mother’s love is forever etched in me and her words live on through Simply Eartha.
Shop Simply Eartha to support the Colon Cancer Alliance today. 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.