Meet the One Million Strong- Donna Pethel from California


Champion Stories
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Meet Donna

Donna Pethel, Patient / Survivor Placerville, California

Donna's Story

I consider myself extremely lucky and grateful! I had stage IIIB rectal cancer, diagnosed in 2011. Nobody wants to talk or hear about colorectal cancer, even though it’s the second deadliest cancer in the U.S. We do not think it can happen to us. I did not think it could happen to me either. After all, I was in excellent health, never smoked, rarely had any type of alcohol, did not have a family history of colorectal cancer, my BMI was in the normal range, and I walked 20 miles every week.
It was simply the unlucky luck of the draw.
It can happen to anyone. Colorectal cancer can be prevented or cured if detected early. That’s why it is so important to start getting screening colonoscopies at age 50. I know this sounds like a PSA, but if I had my first colonoscopy at 50 instead of 56, I probably could have avoided enduring all the harsh, difficult treatments and their side effects, both temporary and permanent. The good news is that I’m smelling the roses and not pushing up daisies! Don’t be like me. Don’t learn the hard way.

Donna's Advice

It helps to find a support group or a survivor to help you in your fight. You will find you are stronger than you think.