For the sixth year in a row, The Colon Club has released an inspirational project to raise awareness about colorectal cancer. The 2010 Colondar is an annual wall calendar of young colorectal cancer survivors who share their stories and show their scars to educate about colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States .
Evelyn Reyes, 38, of Jamaica Plain, is Miss October in the Colondar. She is currently one year cancer free, and wanted to be a part of the project because «meeting eleven other colon cancer survivors, some many years out from their treatment, gave me hope for my own future.»
At first, Evelyn thought that the occasional abdominal pain that she had been experiencing was from something she ate on vacation. But when the pain continued and became unbearable, she knew she needed to see a doctor. She went to the emergency room, and a CT scan showed a bowel obstruction that turned out to be a tumor. Since her first surgery and treatment, Evelyn has had two recurrences and three additional surgeries, but she doesn’t let worrying get in the way of living. She enjoys every minute of life and says, «Cancer cannot stop me!» She hopes to inspire others with her attitude.
Like Evelyn, all of the Colondar models were diagnosed with colorectal cancer under the stereotypical age of 50, and hope they will save lives by showing that colorectal cancer can happen to anyone at any age. The other stories are just as compelling as Evelyn’s. Lori was just 16 when she was diagnosed with stage I colon cancer caused by a genetic mutation. Trish is a stage III survivor diagnosed at 43 who lost her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to colon cancer, and her only sister and two aunts to other cancers. Joe was entering a Ph.D. program and expecting a new baby when he was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer at 29. Heidi was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at 31, and has been cancer-free for 11 years. Candace is a mother of five who was misdiagnosed numerous times who volunteers to support others with the same diagnosis.
To help spread the word, the Colondar website has also been expanded, including
photographs, short and long stories from the models and information about colorectal
cancer. For the first time, video footage of each model telling his or her story and
experience at the Colondar photo shoot is included on each models’ individual page.
«The Colon Club was started to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and to show that it can happen to anyone. We want people’s jaws to drop when they see the Colondar,» says Molly McMaster, Co-Founder of The Colon Club and a 2005 Colondar model. «Most people don’t realize that colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, and about 15,000 young people are diagnosed each year.»
Evelyn is hosting an unveiling in Boston called «Blue Star Night» at Mojitos Lounge
Come and meet Evelyn and talk to her about her experience.
What: «Blue StarNight» party to launch the 2010 Colondar in Boston
When: October 1st, 2009 at 7pm,