The Blue Hope Bash Denver, Chaired by Amanda Campbell, is Planned for Saturday, October 15, at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Doctors at UCHealth threw the kitchen sink at Brandon Campbell, 37, after he was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer, but it wasn’t enough.
“I watched this strong, amazing man lose 40 pounds in a month,” his wife, Amanda Campbell, said. “I saw him wither away, and with him went my co-parent, our plans for the future, and our security.”
In her search for support, and then for meaning, Campbell involved herself with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance (the Alliance), the nation’s largest nonprofit dedicated to ending colorectal cancer. To support its mission, she will chair the Blue Hope Bash Denver on October 15.
“Before Brandon was diagnosed, colorectal cancer wasn’t even on our radar,” she said. “I struggle to think about what a little more knowledge would have done for us. Maybe he would have gotten screened. Maybe he’d still be here today.”
As is common with colorectal cancer, Brandon Campbell had no symptoms before his January 2019 diagnosis. A testament to his vitality, he had completed a 50-km race at Copper Mountain the summer before, dying just a year later.
His diagnosis also highlights the rising rate of young-onset colorectal cancer, which is diagnosed in people under age 50. The alarming trend informed recently revised colorectal cancer screening guidelines, which now state all people at average risk should start getting checked at age 45.
“You just feel like it’s lurking there all the time, so we need to find a cure, do better with research, and get people screened,” Campbell said. “Anything I can do to help end colorectal cancer gives me a little purpose for everything my family has been through.”
Amanda and Brandon met when they were in high school. They were always good friends, until romance bloomed in their late 20s. After marrying, they had a son together. In a goodbye letter to friends and family, Brandon looked back on his life:
So in the end, that is it, he wrote. I made it. I had a great life. I escaped the cold of Canada. I had best friends who I loved like brothers. I found my great love and built a happy family with Amanda. Brady will forever carry my Legacy.
“The letter captured so beautifully him and his outlook, and it’s helped me as I set a trajectory for our grief and how we move forward in our life,” Campbell said. “Having him gone has been a huge adjustment, in every sense. I think you lose so much more than a person.”
The Blue Hope Bash Denver, now in its fourth year, raises money to fund efforts that can spare others from the pain of losing their loved ones through programs to prevent colorectal cancer, support patients and caregivers, and fund research.
Image: Brandon and Amanda Campbell with their son Brady, who gained national attention after his father’s death in 2019 by selling lemonade to take his mom out on a date. Now his mother is raising funds for the national nonprofit Colorectal Cancer Alliance by chairing the Blue Hope Bash Denver on October 15 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.
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