Pushing the Limits

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Champion Stories
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Stop. Quit. Give up.

These words don’t exist in the vocabularies of colorectal cancer survivors Ben Moon and Teri Griege.

As athletes, they haven’t let anything — including stage III and stage IV cancer, respectively — get in their way. As the Fight CRC community begins to train for this summer’s Climb for a Cure, these two relentless champions share how they stay motivated to keep going, continue pushing limits, and not give up on hope.

BEN MOON

Stage III Survivor

Living on the road in his van with his dog, Denali, when his symptoms hit: Moon passed out by a campfire while at Joshua Tree with his friends. The 27 year old shrugged it off; he’d recently started his adventure photography career, climbing and surfing for Patagonia, and he assumed he wasn’t eating enough meat. Blood in his stool appeared a day later, and he knew something wasn’t right. A friend urged him to not ignore it.

“She said, ’You know, Ben, you could have colon cancer. You need to get checked out right away.’ So I looked it up and the first question was, ’Are you over 50?’ I ignored everything else below that on the page.”

For the next two years, Moon blew off the fatigue, gas, bloating, and blood despite the discomfort that was slowing down the elite mountain climber. Fortunately, another friend noticed his struggles and urged him to see a nurse practitioner. Medical teams quickly ran multiple tests and performed a colonoscopy, which revealed a tumor and ended up saving his life.

Moon underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery — leaving him with a permanent ostomy. But, he continued to live in his van while on treatment and stayed as active as his body allowed, appreciating the comfort and motivation of his furry friend Denali.

Although Moon faced some days when he wanted to do nothing, his community and love of the outdoors kept him moving. Whether he was mountain biking, mountain climbing, or surfing, Moon didn’t give up.

Today, he is a 17-year cancer survivor and continues to inspire others.

Teri Griege

Stage IV Survivor

Many learned Griege’s inspiring story after her triumphant race at the 2011 Ironman® World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The crowd stood in awe as the 50-year-old endurance athlete crossed the finish line, despite her body having been ravaged by colon cancer. Her goal was to complete the race, and she let nothing — not surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, setbacks, and injuries stop her.

Since 2009, Griege has been fighting stage IV cancer, determined to not only beat the disease but to inspire people along the way. In addition to offering support to her local St. Louis community, she has jumped into national advocacy and offered vision and hope to Fight CRC as a board member. Griege is passionate about fundraising for research and recruiting more leaders who can help the organization grow. Additionally, she’s one of Fight CRC’s biggest and loudest cheerleaders who coaches each advocate she meets to find and define their “why,” and to stay plugged into community.

“When I was first diagnosed, I thought I could do it by myself but in the first 72 hours, I realized that fighting cancer wasn’t something I could do alone,” she said. “Community and asking for help, allowing people to help me, and helping others was important to me from the very start.”

Today, Griege is a 12-year survivor who continues to push her limits. In fact, last summer she completed the 29029 Challenge — a climb that’s the equivalent of Mount Everest — because she wanted to do something epic to celebrate turning 60 and also raise awareness.

Whether she’s on the top of a mountain, at the finish line of a triathlon, or meeting everyone in the room at a Fight CRC event, Griege keeps going to not only push herself, but to support others.

Climb for a Cure 2022

For many, colorectal cancer is the biggest mountain they will ever face. Fight alongside survivors, caregivers, and loved ones and Climb for a Cure.

Check out Beyond Blue

Continue to read more about Ben and Teri in the 2022 Spring Issue of Beyond Blue! Each page is dedicated to providing you with new resources that reflect topics and issues that matter most to survivors and caregivers, with a focus on empowering you and supporting your well-being.

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