2021 Ambassador Feature: Beth Kornegay


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The year 2020 will be memorable for all of us, but at Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), we had the pleasure of welcoming a new class of Fight CRC Ambassadors.

Despite all of the difficulties of 2020, especially with Stay-at-Home orders and social distancing, our Ambassadors found creative and interesting ways to get their messages into the world and to share their mission, which also is our mission: We FIGHT to cure CRC and serve as relentless champions of hope for all affected by this disease through informed patient support, impactful policy change, and breakthrough research endeavors.

We are thankful to our Ambassadors as they finish out their introductory Ambassador year!

Beth Kornegay hails from Shawnee, Kansas. Fight CRC had some questions for Beth about her experience as Fight CRC Ambassador:

Q: What is your connection to colorectal cancer?

A: I am a patient/survivor.

Q: What does being a Fight CRC Ambassador mean to you?

A: I love meeting other CRC survivors and caregivers because I feel like they are the only ones who truly "get" our struggles. Being a Fight CRC Ambassador means I promote screening during March, and I secured the Kansas Colon Cancer Awareness Proclamation from Governor Laura Kelly. I also had an on-air interview with a local newscaster who was recently diagnosed with Stage II colon cancer and changed some local Shawnee lights blue in honor of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. I've also been able to reach out to other CRC patients (including my cousin) and give them support and a shoulder to cry on.

Q: What compelled you to apply to be a Fight CRC Ambassador?

A: I felt compelled to apply as a Fight CRC Ambassador because I really wanted to leverage a national organization to help spread the word about how important screening is. As a survivor and thriver of stage III, I want to let people know that a cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. I've met so many other survivors through Facebook groups that I wanted to extend that reach even more. We truly can empathize with the struggles we all have.

Q: What have you learned during your introductory Ambassador year?

A:  I've learned that COVID-19 has taken an unexpected toll on people getting routine screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. I saw a statistic that the CDC is expecting an additional 10,000 deaths in upcoming years just from colon and breast cancer because people are putting off their routine screenings. A routine screening saved my life when I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer at my colonoscopy at age 50.

Q: This year, our Ambassador stories reached millions! From being featured in Fight CRC communications, Times Square, and local media, your face has been everywhere. What was the most exciting part for you?

A: I think the most exciting part was being part of the Times Square media campaign. Never in a million years did I ever expect that! I also enjoyed my in-person live interview with a local news station where I was able to share my story with a newscaster who has stage II colon cancer.

Q: What's your FAVORITE thing about being an Ambassador?

A: I love meeting new people and, here in Kansas City, we seem to have a cluster of Ambassadors this year. Once COVID-19 subsides, we are planning to get together in-person.

Q: Have you noticed growth within yourself over the past year?

A: I've always been open to sharing my story, talking about poop (“Everybody poops," is what my colorectal surgeon told me!), and I'm looking forward to sharing my story to an even broader audience with the upcoming Call-on Congress.

Q: What motivates you to advocate for the CRC community?

A: I am motivated to advocate for the CRC community because I really want to see colon cancer wiped out in my lifetime. I would love for my son's future children to not even have to worry about it.

Q: Do you feel your efforts are impactful?

A: Absolutely! I feel my efforts are impactful: from proclamations, blue lights on local landmarks, interviews, television appearances, and talking one-on-one with people, I know those things help spread the word.

Q: What advice do you have for those who recently have been diagnosed or who have loved ones who recently have been diagnosed?

A: Know that colon cancer is not a death sentence! It will be a battle, but one that can be won, and it all starts with the right state of mind. Be positive, be open to treatments, and never give up!

Q: How will you continue your efforts beyond the close of your introductory Ambassador year?

A: For now, continuing to support Fight CRC and through any sort of publicity and interviews locally is how I will continue my efforts beyond the close of my introductory Ambassador year.

Fight CRC is grateful for the support of Beth and the 2020-2021 Fight CRC Ambassadors as they continue to serve as relentless champions of hope!