In 2005, Christine Niemi, was diagnosed at age 28 with stage IV colorectal cancer that had spread to the liver. Eighteen months later, she joined C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition at its Call-on Congress grassroots training and lobby day and became an active and tenacious advocate with the organization. Last week, she attended the Stand Up to Cancer broadcast as a representative of C3. We asked her to share her experience with others in the cancer fight.
Last Friday, September 5, I had the amazing opportunity to represent C3 at the Stand Up to Cancer live broadcast in Los Angeles, CA. I was joined by C3 board member Andy Giusti and advocates Florence Kurttila and Sean Twersky (Sean’s mom, Lisa Dubow, was one of C3’s founders and is the namesake of the organization’s Lisa Fund, which raises money for late stage colorectal cancer research). Participating in the event was the experience of a lifetime.
Early in the afternoon we attended a luncheon for the advocates representing 75 different cancer advocacy organizations from across the United States. There was a great sense of excitement – and the camaraderie between the groups was inspirational. It was exciting for me to meet other young adult cancer survivors. Speeches were made to acknowledge the people who worked so hard to organize the event as well as to illustrate how far we’ve come in the war against cancer and how much more there is to do.
After lunch, we were escorted to the Kodak Theater, where the broadcast would be taking place (for movie buffs out there, you know the Kodak Theater as the site of the annual Academy Awards). We immediately began celebrity spotting. I even watched colorectal cancer survivor Sharon Osborne get her make-up done. If I had better aim, I would have tossed her a C3 awareness pin!
All of the C3 advocates were wearing Cover Your Butt t-shirts – and they were a big hit. I was even stopped after the show by an oncologist at the University of California, Los Angeles whose research focuses on colorectal cancer, wanting to know which group we represented.
As those of you who watched the broadcast know, it was educational, touching and funny (and if you missed it, the video podcast can be downloaded free from iTunes). The musical performances were incredible. I was in awe listening to Josh Grobin and Michelle Mancini sing “Imagine.” I cried watching the rehearsal, the live taping, and the recorded broadcast at home. The performance of “Just Stand Up” which was broadcast from New York inspired me so much that I went home and bought the single.
We all had a great time. I was happy to see that the C3 advocates were visible during the broadcast. Our Cover Your Butt shirts really stood out. It was a very memorable day and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate.