Why We Walk: Shaun Will, Elgin
In March 2013 I lost my cousin, Jennifer Edgerton, to colon cancer, three weeks before her 38th birthday.
In the months following her passing, our family and friends formed Team Jennifer. We have participated in both the Chicago and Elgin G.Y.R.I.G. events. Jennifer expressed to me once that she wished more people knew how early detection could save lives.
We walk, not only to help share her wish, but also to help raise funds to help others affected by this disease.
At the age of 34 she started showing signs of the disease. Because of her young age, the proper tests were not done and the doctor started treating her for irritable bowel syndrome.
After a year with no improvement, a colonoscopy was finally done. She was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. The disease had already begun to spread, leaving her options for treatment limited.
She changed her diet, tried multiple chemo treatments, even tried a clinical trial out of state. She was a single parent working full time and fighting hard to live every day. To this day it hurts to think that if a colonoscopy was done sooner she might still be with us.
Participating in these events has helped turn my grief into something positive and something she would be proud of. I have met so many new people and feel like we are all one big, giant family.
I want everyone to know, colon cancer is not an "old person's disease" like once thought. Cancer knows no race, no gender, no age.