March 1, 2022
Meet Jamie Crespo, 31 from Seattle, Washington, who currently works at an outpatient surgery unit for Kaiser Permanente.
What was your experience with colorectal cancer?
My dad started experiencing symptoms in the beginning of 2017. He lost a lot of weight, was pale, and fainted a couple of times. He wasn’t doing anything new with his diet and exercise, so I told him he needed to see his physician.
After having a few scans and tests, the doctors found out he was anemic, and had colon cancer. He got a colectomy in August and stayed in the hospital for a few days. When we met with the medical and oncology team, his cancer was in stage 3.
Later that fall, once he completed 9 out of the 11 chemotherapy treatments, my mom got her colonoscopy, because she wanted to wait until he was okay. She ended up having stage 1 colon cancer and just needed a minimally invasive laparoscopic colectomy, and stayed a few days at the hospital.
Since then, both have been in remission and get routine colonoscopies. For reference, they were diagnosed in their 60’s, and colon cancer did not run in the family until now. My family is from the Philippines and preventative care there isn’t talked about much.
How did you hear about the Colon Cancer Foundation? How long have you been involved, and why do you enjoy supporting their efforts?
Running the NYC Marathon was my dream race, and as I was looking for charities to fundraise for, I heard about the Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF).
I contacted CCF and was fortunate to get a spot on their fundraising team in the winter of 2019, which was so meaningful to me given my parents’ history with colon cancer. The following year, I became more involved with CCF by fundraising $3.2K, surpassing the initial goal of $3K.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race was postponed to November 7, 2021. The NYC Marathon was my third marathon but first world major marathon and charity race.
It turned out to be what I thought it would be and even better! Running the five boroughs from Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and ending in Manhattan at Central Park was exhilarating. The crowd was electric throughout the entire 26.2 miles, and I even spotted some of my friends along the way.
When I got to Central Park, I definitely teared up as I thought about what this race meant for my parents, and all my family and friends that supported me throughout this journey. I loved CCF’s mission in encouraging colon cancer awareness and prevention.
Why is it so important to get screened for colorectal cancer?
So it won’t be too late, and can save the lives of your family and friends.
How do you suggest opening the conversation with friends & family?
For me, when I have conversations with family and friends, I always share my personal experience with my parents and my work with colonoscopy patients. I also love talking about it through social media and getting the word out about colon cancer awareness and preventative care.
If you felt inspired by Jamie’s story, follow her here on Instagram: @jamielynetteShare:
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