When Sandi Stupica was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at just 29, she immediately became her own health advocate—playing an active role in her treatment plan and even talking to her doctor about fertility preservation.
We’re thrilled to have Oscar-nominated and award-winning actor Terrence Howard join us for a new and powerful public service campaign to raise awareness and encourage colon cancer screening. Terrence became an advocate after his mother passed away from colon cancer in 2008.
Candace Henley was finally diagnosed with stage IIB colon cancer after six months of misdiagnoses. She went from what many called a “superwoman,” to needing her friends and family to take care of her. Candace went through tremendous physical and emotional turmoil, but 10+ years later, has a clean bill of health.
Vanessa Ghigliotty was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer when she was just 27 years old. At the time of her diagnosis, she was unable to walk and her tumor was beginning to protrude out of her right abdominal wall. Eleven years later, Vanessa is dedicated to spreading colon cancer awareness locally and nationally.
Eartha Kitt was an internationally renowned star and performer who distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television. Eartha was diagnosed at age 80 with stage III colon cancer. She passed away in 2008, but not without a fight. Passionate about carrying on her mother’s voice, Kitt Shapiro, Eartha’s daughter, has partnered with us to share her mother’s story and raise awareness.
American country music artist Craig Campbell joined us in March 2013 for our Stars Go Blue Benefit Concert, opening for country music legend Alan Jackson. We were thrilled to have him as part of this inspirational event, and touched at how candidly he talked about losing his father to colon cancer when he was just 11, emphasizing the importance of screening and family history.
Nikki and Phil Russo met in a New York City café. The two creative minds immediately connected – Phil on his way to becoming the VP – Global Creative Director for the international fashion label Cole Haan and Nikki a fashion editor in the Big Apple. The young family was on page one of their life story – new jobs, new home, new baby. It was an overwhelmingly joyous time, until they received a devastating diagnosis. Even through this adversity, their positivity and support for one another never wavered.
Yolanda Austin and Bonita Scott met at a St. Louis, Missouri church more than 30 years ago. Despite their differences in personality, Yolanda lively and outgoing and Bonita shy and reserved, the two immediately hit it off. And for 30 years, the duo remained best girlfriends, leaning on one another through the thick and thin, sharing laughs and tears. When Bonita was dealt a stage IV diagnosis at just 41 years old, Yolanda stepped up, never missing a beat. Nearly four years later, Yolanda’s overwhelming and inspirational dedication to spreading awareness fills a void left by her best girlfriend’s passing.
I am so blessed to have been the lifeline, the caregiver to three of the most precious people in my life. I was given this chance, this opportunity, this gift from God, to be the one who made the difference in their lives, and in two cases, in their returns home. This wasn’t a burden, this was a blessing, and I think I can say I did well.
My son is now 16 years old and faced his second malignancy last year. At three years old, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He underwent chemo and radiation and after 12 years of survivorship, he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer last summer – rare in children.