“Pray a ton and be outwardly focused.”

This advice has served Walter Hickman well as a patient, survivor, and advocate and made him an easy choice for Fight CRC’s 2020 Community Advocacy Award. Each year, Fight CRC honors an individual who is “all in;” going above and beyond as an advocate, volunteer, or fundraiser for Fight CRC. 

Selected by Fight CRC’s Grassroots Advocacy Committee, the recipient of the Community Advocacy Award is an individual who inspires us by making a difference both locally and nationally. 

Walter has done that and so much more. 

Following a trip to the emergency room after experiencing severe constipation and cramping, Walter was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer at the age of 44. Shortly after being admitted to the hospital, doctors found a grapefruit-sized mass in his colon. 

In a subsequent surgery, doctors removed twelve inches of his colon, thirteen lymph nodes, and the mass. After surgery, he had twelve rounds of chemo leaving him with some neuropathy and “chemo brain”, but he has remained a relentless champion of hope. 

“I realized that I was given a gift in the midst of this terrible hell I was enduring. The gift of serving others, the ability to stand in the gap, and willingness to give my time.”

The husband and father of four has climbed mountains and walked the halls of Congress to share his story and educate others about the importance of early detection. He truly is relentless. 

Walter has touched many lives both within the Fight CRC community and beyond. As caregiver and Grassroots Advocacy Committee Co-Chair Marsha Baker explains, “Having Walter join the Fight CRC family has meant so much because Walter adds the missing voice of a black man being able to speak for, and to, the black community. He became a super advocate instantly, and has never looked back. Walter’s willingness to support fellow advocates is contagious.”  

Walter even helped Fight CRC’s own Aubree Thelen get involved in the fight. “I met Walter when he was my mentor at my first Call-on Congress. Walter is a person who made such an impression on me as a welcoming, knowledgeable, passionate, and kind man, that when I was asked to serve as the Grassroots Advocacy Manager, I jumped at the chance. Walter builds community wherever he goes and is so deserving of this award.”

Walter summarized his commitment to the fight saying, “I hope to save at least a life a day...and inspire someone to jump in and serve the greatest good by loving your neighbor.”

The entire Fight CRC family is inspired every day by Walter’s zeal for advocacy and commitment to encouraging his fellow fighters. He serves as a beautiful example of what it means to be a relentless champion of hope. 

To learn more about Fight CRC’s advocacy efforts, visit our Advocacy Portal at Fightcrc.org/Advocacy.