Meet our February Volunteer of the Month

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February Volunteer of the Month Spotlight

This month, we would like to recognize Candice Graves, a volunteer who is involved in many different ways, including leading the Marketing Committee and serving on the Bottoms Up Bash Committee (among other things)!  We greatly appreciate all of her hard work to help raise awareness and support the Colon Cancer Prevention Project!  Learn a little bit about Candi below. 

*How did you get involved with The Project?

A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with HNPCC (or to some, Lynch Syndrome).  It wasn’t too much of a surprise to me.  My grandfather died in his early thirties of colon cancer.  He had four children (one of whom was my father) and each of them have survived colon cancer.  A first cousin passed away.  He was also in his early thirties when a diagnosis came too late.  Well before recommended screening would have even taken place.  I had been looking for a way to get involved.  A way to let people know that early screening really is important.  I found The Project when my two aunts who had survived colon cancer did the walk.  The rest is, as they say… history.

*Why Louisville-area?

I actually live in Jeffersonville, IN.  I’m here because this is where my families have lived for several decades.

*What is your favorite restaurant in Louisville-area?

 There are a lot of great places in Southern Indiana and Jeffersonville!  For lunch with a friend I love to eat at Orange Clover (their breakfast is also amazing!).  For a dinner date my husband and I like other local places like Clucker’s.

*What is one interesting fact about you that most people don’t know?

A few years ago I trained and ran a full marathon… all 26.2 miles of it.  It was by far the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I am hoping to do more.

*What is your motto you live by?

 I never really thought about it, but I think maybe a combination of these two:

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 *What is some advice you were given long ago and still live by?

 “Help your brother.  He’s your family.  It’s what we do.”

*What is your guilty pleasure? (Yes, we mean the one you are slightly embarrassed to admit.)

 Those stupid zynga games like Candy Crush.  I would never publicly admit that I play those things.  :)

*If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

 Somewhere I can explore!  I would love to see the nature and culture of Alaska sometime soon.

*If you could trade places with anyone in the world (dead or alive) for a month, who would choose and why?

 I don’t think I would ever trade places with anyone.  I like who I am.  I let memoirs tell me about who other people are.


 ***Thank you, Candi!***

Read Caleb Payne's letter about why he will be embarking on a journey on the Appalachian Trail in March!

Appalachian Colon Cancer Awareness Project 2015

It's early spring, when the heavy winter snow begins to make its way for the new growth of fresh wildflowers, awaking bears from their winter homes, song birds return and build their houses to raise the next generation of song birds to sign their blessings into the new mornings air. It is also the time of year to bring awareness to the disease of Colorectal Cancer. The Appalachian Colon Cancer Awareness Project 2015 is scheduled for launch on March 15, 2015 at 8:00am. This is when I will take the first step of over five million steps and climb over 500,000 vertical feet along the oldest mountain chain on earth, the Appalachian.
Why, would a normal person that just retired from a 27 year career as a firefighter here in Louisville, Kentucky and is 54 years old start on such an adventure?

My Story:
I am an Advanced Stage Colorectal Cancer survivor, I was diagnosed on January 07, 2013 by Dr. Whitney Jones, MD via a colonoscopy. I can still remember those words while still recovering from the procedure. He placed his hand on my left shoulder and said, "yeah, it's cancer, but, we will travel this road together." This cancer was growing inside my colon for years and without noticeable effects until the very end when the cancer was taking up 3/4's of my colon and as long as 6". I truly believe that if I had not scheduled a colonoscopy when I did, I would not be able to share my experience. I began a journey that would last for 304 days; to include several weeks of radiation treatments with Dr. Cornet, from Norton Cancer Center which started immediately upon my diagnosis; to be followed with Chemotherapy. I underwent two separate scheduled treatment cycles of Chemotherapy with Dr. Kuda Khan. I than was scheduled for Colorectal Surgery with Dr. Wayne Tuckson, MD on May 20, 2013 just three days after my youngest daughter graduated from Mercy Academy. After the surgery I underwent additional chemotherapy for several more weeks until October 28, 2013. At that time I was diagnosed Cancer Free.
I am hiking the entire Appalachian Trail of over 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine, spreading the word to each small village I pass of the important of early prevention of colonoscopies at age 50 if not younger. I had the beginnings of colon cancer inside my body at age 50, which would have been diagnosed at a very early stage if any and removed painless through a routine colonoscopy. I want to spread the word of early prevention so other will not experience the pain and uncertainty of cancer. My own life, I just buried my oldest child on June 21, 2011 (Father's day) from a life long illness of Cystic Fibrosis and within an 18 month period I was diagnosed with a life threaten illness as well.
The Colon Cancer Prevention Project was started by Dr. Whitney Jones, MD and a few other concern citizens to bring awareness to the community of Louisville Kentucky in 2004 when he was finding a large amount of Colorectal Cancers in his patients, the Colon Cancer Prevention Project is helping the community with programs to better understand Colorectal Cancers and programs for the current patient who is fighting the battle and the ones like myself who have survived cancer, but living in a post cancer environment of uncertainty. I knew the recommendations of the CDC on getting annual colonoscopies starting at the age of 50, but refused to listen. I am hiking the entire Appalachian Trail of over 2,190 miles, over 500,000 vertical feet, and over seven month period through the cold, rain, long miles with 25 pounds on my back, heat of summer, the loneliness and isolation of the Maine wilderness to spread the word to the small villages I will pass to get that screening early, do wait as I did and face cancer.

The small villages I will pass through on my way to Maine; may not have the luxury of the cancer research and the publication of a large city like Louisville. I plan on visiting radio stations, news stations, newspaper publishers, civil leaders, medical centers to hear the message of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project of early prevention. With your help and donations to the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, we can spread the message and support our neighbors about Colon Cancer.

Thank you,

Caleb Payne
Appalachian Colon Cancer Awareness Project 2015

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