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Leighann Sturgin

Spring 2015

It’s been 5 years since I gave my testimony at church, Pastor and I thought it would be a good time to give an update. Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition, still puts me at high risk for several cancers I continue to be screened for each year. Short Bowel Syndrome still has me attached to IV fluids and nutrition 9 hrs each night and I have a permanent ileostomy but I’m happy to report, I’m still cancer free! My oncologist says my colon cancer is considered cured. From stage IV and offered hospice to cured, God still does miracles!

God is using me in amazing new ways I could’ve never imagined a few years ago. I’ve become involved in colon cancer advocacy, public speaking at several events and volunteering with The Colon Club and Fight Colorectal Cancer. In March, I went to Washington DC with Fight CRC’s Call on Congress to speak with our Ohio Congressmen about a bill H.R.1220 - Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2015. Currently, if a Medicare patient goes in for a colonoscopy screening and a polyp is found and removed, (the whole point of the screening) it’s then coded as a procedure and no longer covered. H.R. 1220 would prevent that from happening, allowing all colonoscopies to be covered.

Last year I was chosen from hundreds of applicants to be featured in 2015 Colondar 2.0, The Colon Club’s colorectal cancer awareness magazine. Along with 11 other survivors, most consider “too young” for colorectal cancer, I flew to Nashville, TN for a photo shoot and interview. The project seeks to raise eyebrows. Reveal scars. And most importantly, raise awareness that colorectal cancer CAN HAPPEN IF YOU’RE UNDER AGE 50. As part of the application process we were asked to include our cancer story. The Colon Club was so impressed with my written story they asked me to blog for them. This year I’ve been asked to join the staff for the 2016 Colondar 2.0 as a writer, so I’ll fly to Nashville again this summer to interview 4 of the new models. I pray I can do their stories justice.

To read The Colon Club blog visit http://colonclub.com/category/the-colon-clubs-blog/. If you would like to buy a 2015 Colondar 2.0 you could go to http://colonclub.com/store/ or buy one directly from me for $10.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people through these advocacy efforts, some have wonderful relationships with Jesus, some are very angry with Jesus, some are adamant atheists. I’m determined to be a light in their lives, whether it’s to encourage the believers, guide the lost, or confront the darkness.

As I said in my original video testimony, 10 out of 10 people die. This advocacy work brings me close to these great people who are still fighting stage IV colorectal cancer. Some of them have finished the race, two of them already this year. I miss them. I pray they are with Jesus.

Finally, let me end with this; colon cancer is preventable with proper screening. If you have family history or a genetic condition such as Lynch or FAP and/or have been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disorder such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease, you are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer. If you’re having symptoms, such as change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain, feeling like your bowel doesn’t empty completely or unexplained weight loss, please get screened. 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime.