Today I’m dressed in my bluest of blues for this first day of March. Can you guess why?Katie Couric: An Advocate for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Over a decade ago in March of 2000, a woman bravely broadcasted her own colonoscopy on NBC News’ Today Show. Although it is an incredibly personal procedure, this woman put her public image on the line in order to encourage early screening for colon cancer. Many of you ought to be familiar with her—whether through catching her talk show on ABC, seeing her adventures on the Today Show, or just by hearing about her exciting career in conversation. Of course, I’m talking about Katie Couric. However, many do not know that she is one rockstar advocate for colorectal cancer. Her willingness to broadcast this preventative procedure demonstrated to her viewers that a colonoscopy is only a preventative test that is anything but embarrassing. She was hoping to diminish the popular idea of a colonoscopy being an uncomfortable, humiliating or even painful procedure since many opt out of colonoscopies due to that negative connotation. Colorectal Cancer Alliance (CCA). Thankfully, nationally desginating the month of March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month gives colorectal cancer support groups the opportunity to utilize every day in March to effectively increase public awareness. Although colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, what many don’t know is that this cancer is highly preventable and treatable with proper and early screening. And while it may have been a bit uncomfortable for some viewers to watch, Katie Couric’s colonoscopy demonstrated one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from this debilitating cancer.
The power of prevention: If everyone over 50 years of age had a regular colon screening as many as 80% of deaths from colon cancer could be prevented. - CCAWhen colorectal cancer is diagnosed while it is in its advanced stages, the ability of a doctor to treat the cancer isn’t nearly as successful as when the cancer is caught in its infancy. The trouble is with colorectal cancer—and with many other diseases—is that a person in the early stages of the disease hardly shows any obvious symptoms. This is why colonoscopies are a must. Two Advocates Turning Tragedy into Triumph I may not have a popular talk show or the fame of celebrity, but I find that Katie Couric’s life shares a similar history and passion with my own. In 1998 Katie’s husband, Jay Monahan, was taken by colon cancer, just like my dad—my Poppy. She channeled her experience with this tragedy into becoming an awesome advocate for awareness of this cancer and other gastrointestinal complications. She founded the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health, which puts a heavy focus on prevention, screening, treatment, and support; reinforcing hope in the lives of cancer patients and their friends and families, similar to the way I try to infuse freedom in lives through PoppyPocket. The Monahan Wellness Center advocates that “the best care is everything”. Actions to Take This Month This month is all for dressing in blue for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which explains the tornado that hit my closet this morning as I searched for the best blue top I owned to wear for National Wear Blue Day. It’s great to see organizations, businesses, companies, and folks in general pulling on their blues to support and encourage awareness for colorectal cancer and how we can, as a community of helpful hearts, decrease its impact on our nation. So, take action this month and visit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance to find a chapter in your area that you can get involved with. Also, check out their calendar of events. It’s a great way to seek out those opportunities to support the cause that personally strike strong interest in you! Don’t forget to also watch Katie Couric do what she does best on her talk show as she encourages others to be knowledgeable about their personal health and as well as inspiring optimism in all lives. Maybe try and get to sit in the audience at one of her live airings – that is an absolute dream of mine! But, an easy way to kick-start your involvement in this month is to simply head back to your closetand find your best blues to wear and let everyone know why you’re blue today! Live boldly and blue, Julie References: http://www.ccalliance.org/colorectal_cancer/statistics.html