If you know golf, you know PGA TOUR Pro Tom Lehman. He has been a professional golfer for over 30 years. He has 36 career professional victories, including five PGA TOUR wins.
But what many people didn’t know, up until last year, is that Tom is also a 23-year colon cancer survivor.
For many years, Tom chose not to tell his story. He was diagnosed at stage I and was successfully treated. Knowing that hundreds of thousands of colon cancer survivors faced more harrowing challenges than him, he never felt like his story mattered.
But it did.
About a year ago, Tom was chatting with someone at a tournament and mentioned that he was a colon cancer survivor. He didn’t think much of it until he later learned that because of that conversation, that person was screened and ended up having 13 precancerous polyps removed.
That was all the convincing Tom needed. Soon thereafter, he partnered with Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) to share his story more broadly and highlight the importance of early screening.
Last month, that partnership brought Tom to Washington, DC where he shared his story with members of Congress and their staff and urged them to advance the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act. The bill would end surprise medical bills that keep many seniors from getting screened for colorectal cancer (CRC) by closing the “Medicare loophole” – waiving coinsurance for Medicare patients who undergo a routine colonoscopy and have polyps removed. He also spoke with White House staff and urged them to do what they can to take action on this issue.
And then, just before Tom got on a plane back to Arizona, he got a phone call – it was an invitation to share his story with the president.
Tom told the president that, if caught early, colorectal cancer is preventable – something we don’t often hear when it comes to cancer. The president listened, asked questions, and agreed to look into the issue further.
When we started the day, we had no idea that Tom would end up telling his story to the president. But as Tom quickly discovered, his story made a difference.
And so can yours.
Fight CRC’s 14th Annual Call-on Congress is fast-approaching. It’s an opportunity to be part of an incredible community of advocates who are sharing their stories with the policymakers and national leaders who will determine the future of CRC prevention, treatment, and research. Sign up now to join us on March 15th-17th in Washington, DC.
Whether it’s your first time telling it or your hundredth, your story matters. Every time you share it, you are increasing awareness, catalyzing action, and above all else, making your voice heard as a relentless champion of hope.