At 28 years old, Fawn MacAdie was a personal trainer. Boxing, lifting, sweating, sprinting—all in a day’s work. But then, suddenly, it was exhausting. Running laps, once a breeze, left her winded. Sometimes, she couldn’t keep up with clients.
Like many young-onset colorectal cancer survivors, Fawn’s first visit to the doctor left her frustrated. The doctor said nothing was wrong—that maybe Fawn was working out too hard. Yet Fawn knew her body, and she felt a lump in her gut.
She persisted and found a new doctor, and on January 26, 2011, she got the call: stage II cancer. The next month, surgeons removed a tennis ball-sized tumor and 12 inches of her colon.
“How could I, a 28-year-old personal trainer and fitness instructor, who eats organic and takes care of her body, have cancer?” Fawn remembered thinking. In fact, the incidence rate of colorectal cancer among people under 50 is rising, and researchers don’t know why. More study is needed.
While Fawn has been cancer-free since surgery, and has even started a family, she hasn’t forgotten the shock of diagnosis or her journey to survivorship. She is partnering with Hats for Heroines to raise money for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, funding critical research, prevention efforts, and support. Hats for Heroines donates 100% of profits to charity.
Fawn and Hats for Heroines have released a hat that echoes Fawn’s mantra: “Strong Mind, Strong Body, Strong Soul.” The hat comes in multiple colors, and $5 from each sale goes to the Alliance.
On the Hats for Heroines website, Fawn writes:
“The [Colorectal Cancer Alliance] was and still is an important part of my life, as they helped me get through a very scary time. I was able to connect with other young survivors that had been or were going through a very similar situation as mine. I appreciate how the alliance spreads awareness on colorectal cancer and how “you are never too young” to get diagnosed with this disease.”
“It is still hard to understand why myself, a true example on how to embody and live an extremely healthy lifestyle, had colon cancer at 28 years old,” Fawn writes. “If you know that something doesn’t feel right in your body be an advocate for your own health and get a second or third opinion if needed! We never know what our future holds.”