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Remembering Mike McConnell

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by Anjee Davis

I had only been with Fight Colorectal Cancer a few months when Johanna Bendell introduced me to Cindy McConnell, and shortly after I met Mike. I remember how excited we were that Mike and Cindy were willing to help us. It took a few weeks of phone calls and emails, so initially I got to know Mike through Cindy. But it was the way she talked about him… I knew before we ever met that he was a great man, husband and dad.

Then, on Nov. 5,  2012 I interviewed him in Nashville, Tenn.

Mike was 56 years old when diagnosed, and it just wasn’t in him to give up. He wasn’t going to dwell on his diagnosis. He was a committed man of faith, he adored his wife and daughters, and colorectal cancer wasn’t slowing him down. If anything, he was going to fix things, share his story and save lives. For over three years, he fought for himself, his family, and a for a cure.

The day I interviewed Mike, he looked straight at me. He was incredibly present. I was there to meet him, but he made sure to get to know us too. It sounds silly, but it was incredibly touching for me. I didn’t expect it. And I won’t forget how warm and encouraging he and Cindy were to us.

Four months after we met, Mike, Cindy, and their daughter, Molly, came to Call-on Congress to join us in the unveiling of our first public service announcement for One Million Strong. Mike and his family were a part of our first group of survivors and families featured in our campaign. They gave us a chance and helped us believe that we really could start a movement. I am eternally grateful.

Today, I found out we lost Mike, our friend and advocate. Mike will be remembered by so many of us who have come to know and love him and his family. We mourn the loss of Mike and stand by Cindy and the rest of his family.

We honor him and the legacy of all those that have fought bravely. As a community (and really, a family) we continue to believe, hope and tirelessly fight for a cure.

-Anjee

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