Walter Hickman is a stage II colon cancer survivor, member of the Grassroots Action Committee (GAC) and an awareness activist. He lives in Lithonia, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) with his wife Nsenga, son Walter lll, and daughters MacKenzie and Nsenga. He has worked as a database engineer for the last 20 years. Walter was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer in February 2013 and was recruited to be an advocate by colon cancer survivor and fellow activist Tonya Floyd during his third round of chemo. Walter’s story is featured in the Colon Club’s Colondar 2.0.
BECOMING AN ADVOCATE
My name is Walter Hickman, Jr. and I am a cancer survivor.
After being in pain for a couple of days with what I thought was a severe case of constipation, I drove myself to the emergency room. A CT scan of my abdomen showed a large mass in my colon and I was admitted to the hospital immediately. On February 15, 2013, I was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer.
I am a man of faith and that played a big role in my battle with colorectal cancer. In fact, I had so much faith in God’s good will for my life that I was angry at the doctors for even suggesting that I could have cancer. After coming to terms with my diagnosis, I found myself in the middle of a pity party. Although I found myself asking why God would allow this to happen to me, I met fellow cancer fighters along the way that made my battle full of purpose.
One of these fighters was a man named Joseph who lost his entire colon and was on chemotherapy for the rest of his life. Another was named Joy; she had a double mastectomy and was fighting to have her treatments covered by her insurance provider. And finally, a friend named Tonya who had fought cancer multiple times before and was undergoing more treatment because her cancer had returned.
These three angels had been fighting for years—had been in pain for years—but had continued to live with purpose. So much purpose that it amazed and inspired me. They brought such joy and hope to our treatment room that I could no longer live in my pity. I began to embrace how cancer was going to change my life and in many ways, make me a better man.
CARRYING ON THE TORCH
If you had ever told me that I would become a Fight CRC advocate and a member of the Grassroots Action Committee, I would have said, “Nah, bro. That ain’t me.” But now, I think of myself as carrying on the torch and continuing to run the race that others started. Having a voice and living with this kind of purpose is extremely fulfilling. We can all be advocates! I’m no super hero. I’m just a regular IT guy, a husband, a father and a golf lover. Anyone from any walk of life can spread awareness and become an advocate.
Being an advocate means living in the strength of all survivors and all the “strong arms” that are no longer with us. It means letting people know that I advocate today because I want to stand in the gap, be a voice for the cause and help find a cure.
SAY YES TO ADVOCACY
Cancer survivors are amazingly strong and inspirational individuals. I want to inspire you to say yes to advocacy. Keep the fight going for those who are no longer with us, give strength and support to those who are actively fighting and help find a cure for those who are to come.
Come join me, find your strength and be a part of this community.