Paula Chambers-Raney


Paula Chambers photo

About: October 18, 2014, the day after her wedding on the High Line in Manhattan, Paula had just finished seeing a Broadway play with her family. She felt ill during the whole performance, and as her family stood around outside the theater discussing lunch plans, her stomach was in knots, and she started feeling lightheaded. She told her partner that she needed to go lay down. They had two stops uptown on the train, and they barely made it back to where they were staying. Paula never fully made it to the bathroom. She was sick the rest of the trip, and she came home to doctor visits and lots of people telling her she couldn’t have colorectal cancer because she was too young.

Fast forward three months: Paula was rushed to the ER. She was only passing blood, was anemic, and had lost 16 lbs. She was told she had a full blockage and would need surgery right away. Paula began her journey as a colorectal cancer survivor diagnosed January 28, 2015, with a baseball-sized tumor. She didn’t know what colon cancer was beforehand. She told her doctors that the year prior she was seeing blood and had symptoms. Paula was told to change my diet and to take gas medicines. After her surgery in February 2015, she started sharing her story on social media and started advocating for screenings for younger people, people of color, and people with family histories.

Paula became a Fight CRC Ambassador in 2019. Fight CRC has empowered her with the training and tools to advocate for people like her. Her mission is to ensure people know the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer and have the resources in their communities to get screened and find treatment.

Why Paula climbs: “I Climb for those we have lost to CRC and those whose battles may just be starting. I have been in those shoes and there is hope in this journey. This is my first Climb. I have watched the emotional impact the climb has had on past participants. There is healing in the challenge. There is strength in the community. When I was in treatment, I had people who stepped me physically and emotionally. I couldn’t have faced it on my own. Together we can do hard things!”

One thing that keeps Paula motivated: “Honestly, I have never done anything like this so my motivation is to see if I can do it – That simple.”

Paula’s advice to climbers: “I have learned that when I turn my pain into passion and I am able to be of service to others, I forget about my troubles, and things seem to happen as they should. I try to be kind to myself and let the little things go.”