Meet the One Million Strong – EMILY MAZZETTI


Champion Stories
hero symbol
Emily-Mazzetti OMSHow do YOU define One Million Strong? For me, One Million Strong means that this disease is TOTALLY preventable and people can live healthy, active, normal lives if it is detected early enough.  Having a community of survivors has become really important to me.  I’m lucky to have very supportive friends and family, however, no one really knows what it’s like unless they have been through it.  Fellow survivors help make you feel that you are not alone, offer inspiration, and just listen and can understand exactly what you’ve been through or are going through.  That’s why I wanted to make a difference myself.  Having been diagnosed at a pretty young age (36), I want other young people to be educated and also offer support for those who may be newly diagnosed.  I want people to know that this disease is not a death sentence and it can be beat! Where have you drawn strength? I draw strength from my family mostly.  Jan has been a great support also.  When I was having difficult times, everyone was there to help and offer support in any way possible.  One specific example though would actually be how I drew strength from one of my doctors.  Prior to my diagnosis, Jan had asked her doctor for a referral to a specialist.  I told her if she found a doctor and made the appointment, I might go.  I had been very against going to the doctor, and getting a colonoscopy wasn’t a procedure I was ready to have.  He gave us the name of a colorectal surgeon, and also mentioned to Jan “sometimes you only get one warning.” That resonated with me so much and gave me the strength to finally go see the doctor.  It was so true, and why was I so afraid and in denial about my symptoms?  Those words, along with my own inner strength helped me, and I made the decision to go to the doctor.  He ordered a colonoscopy, and two days after the procedure, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer.  The doctor who gave us the referral is now my oncologist, and without him, who knows where I’d be today! Who is your champion? I have many champions, especially many of the survivors I have come in contact with over the last year and a half.  One of them is my friend Randy Henniger.  He is a 26 year survivor of rectal cancer!  I mean, talk about beating the odds!  He’s such an inspiration, and I just love his attitude and outlook on life. Another champion is my colorectal surgeon, Dr. Ng.  I feel very lucky to have him as part of my medical team.  When I had my initial consultation with him, he NEVER discounted my symptoms or put me off because of my age.  He performed my LAR with the DaVinci robot, and it was a complete success.  He’s a champ, and awesome at what he does! What is one piece of advice you would like to share with others? Don’t ignore your body!  If something isn’t right, don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor. You need to take care of yourself, so if you don’t get the answers you need, find another doctor. I AM a survivor. I AM fearless, witty, athletic, and ALIVE!! I AM STRONG! Want to share your story? Submit yours today!