rachel-givingtuesday-banner written by Chelsey Webber To 30-year-old Rachel Allen, May 2012 represents a stark reminder that life is all too fragile. After receiving an emergency surgery that would ultimately save her life, Rachel spent a few days in the ICU recovering from the removal of all but 6 inches of her colon, as well as her small intestine. The prognosis was dire: stage IV colon cancer. Had she waited any longer, Rachel likely would have died, leaving behind a husband and children. Colorectal cancer is quite commonly viewed as an “old person’s disease.” In fact, the average age for patients when they are diagnosed is 69. However, the statistics are changing. Younger generations are experiencing a rise in diagnosed cases of colorectal cancer. And, research predicts this trend will continue. To a demographic that knows virtually nothing about the disease, this rise in diagnoses is a serious concern.
“I didn’t recognize my symptoms prior to diagnosis… and I was too embarrassed to ask my doctor about them,” says Rachel.
Rachel on set helping us shoot a new PSA
She was avoiding the very conversation that could save her life. In fact, by the time she reached out for help, it was almost too late. After recovering from her first emergency surgery, Rachel’s doctors found that the cancer had spread to her liver. The statistics were grim. Doctors urged her to disregard the current stats regarding colorectal cancer because she didn’t fit the mold. At only 28-years-old and with no prior family history of colorectal cancer, Rachel shouldn’t have been in a hospital fighting for her life. And yet, she was. The months that followed were grueling; Rachel faced an uphill battle. After undergoing another surgery and several treatments, she caught a break and was finally declared cancer free in December 2012. Though she still undergoes treatments to ensure that her cancer doesn’t return, Rachel now spends much of her life spreading the word to young people about the dangers of colorectal cancer and the importance of taking preventative measures. She encourages young people to become familiar with the signs of colorectal cancer and to not be embarrassed to talk to a doctor and get screened.
“I am convinced that there has to be a cause behind the rise in colon cancer in younger populations, and we need more research into those causes so we can stop it! We need to continue to support the scientists that are fighting for us.”
Rachel and her husband renewing their vows during the One Million Strong event in NYC. They traveled from Arkansas to join Fight CRC last March.
Through Fight CRC, Rachel has found a community of people who share her passion about investing in research for a cure. As part of the one million colorectal cancer survivors in the United States, Rachel advocates that awareness is key to making a change.
“As we raise awareness and get more support, we will be able to get patients the screenings they need before they develop into aggressive cancers. We need more people to get behind a cure so that colorectal cancer is on the main page of cancer awareness.”
Rachel’s experience with colorectal cancer has given her a unique perspective into the lives of those who are currently struggling with the disease. She is a survivor, a fighter, an overcomer, and she believes that through research and awareness, colorectal cancer will finally meet its end.


Give $10 so others like Rachel get STRONG!

On #GivingTuesday, we're asking you to donate $10 so that other patients like Rachel can get strong. Fight Colorectal Cancer connected with Rachel through:
  • providing resources to fight her diagnosis
  • creating awareness with her through One Million Strong (she renewed her vows in NYC last March!)
  • engaging in advocacy through eAdvocacy & more