Meet the GAC – Alex Hernandez


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Finding a New Purpose through Loss

My relationship with Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) started back in 2014, with one simple tweet. My mom had just been diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, and since I knew basically nothing about the type of cancer she was facing, I had so many questions.

I remember asking, “What can I do to help my mom during her battle?” I was immediately directed to Fight CRC’s online resources, and suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone. I became more vocal on social media about the benefits of screening and shared a few glimpses into my mother’s ordeal.

But when I lost my mother on 2015, I felt like I had lost everything. She was my best friend, my inspiration. I was left with a huge void in my life and nothing seemed to fix it.

Going back to my old life wasn’t easy; I was a completely different person. I hit some professional milestones in my work as a freelance journalist, but my mom wasn’t there to witness and celebrate them, so I still felt empty.

I continued advocating on social media as a way to cope with my mom’s death. I figured that if I could create awareness, and prevent others from going through the pain my mom went through, maybe I could find some purpose for my grief. Maybe I could heal.

After a few months, I was approached by Fight CRC and asked if I’d be interested in becoming an ambassador. It wasn’t an easy decision at first, because I wasn’t sure how I would feel around survivors or family members who still had their loved one with them. I thought I’d feel envious.

However, I’m glad I accepted the invitation. During ambassador training, I listened to others tell their stories, cried with them, hugged them. I felt no envy, only joy to be surrounded with people who understood me, with people who were there for the same reason I was: To prevent more colorectal cancer cases from happening.

My ambassadorship quickly turned into something tremendously special. I became more vocal on social media and in real life, spreading information in every single way I could. I met lovely people and became good friends with them. Friends of mine got colonoscopies (some life-saving!), started asking their families for medical histories, and became more comfortable discussing stomach issues.

When Call-on Congress came around, I knew my journey in advocacy had reached new heights. It was an emotional, rewarding experience, and it marveled me that my mom’s story could actually impact policy making. She’d be amazed by it.

With two years as an ambassador, fundraising efforts, and two Call-on Congress events under my belt, I’m thrilled to join Fight CRC’s Grassroots Action Committee. I’m looking forward to starting this new advocacy role, to continue fighting for those affected by colorectal cancer, and to honor the memory of those we’ve lost along the way.

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