I am a 57-year-old tech executive who has maintained a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly (2nd Dan in Karate and an avid basketball player having played at a high level), following a vegetarian diet etc. So, it came as a massive shock when a colonoscopy in early 2019 revealed that, what my family doctor and I thought was IBS, turned out to be a growth in my colon. This was fully diagnosed as stage IV colorectal cancer on April Fool’s day 2019, with tumors spread to my liver.
I started immediately on a course of chemotherapy. In the meantime, I also started researching as much as I could on the treatment methods. To that end, I started searching out advocacy groups and those that could help in my endeavours. It was during this time that I was introduced to Filomena at CCRAN. I was immediately impressed by her energy and drive towards helping patients, caregivers and those involved in some way with the fight against cancer. I had been exploring several trial programs, and to my delight, found that Filomena was on very good terms with all the principals associated with these programs with some of them being on her advisory board. She was also able to guide me and introduce me to other programs I had not come across and found her advocacy to be fantastic. She has been described as a “force of nature”, but this is really an understatement of her verve, enthusiasm, and unrelenting pursuit of finding ways of helping patients.
CCRAN has been infused with this culture and this bodes well for anyone who comes into contact with CCRAN. I find much solace in our conversations and monthly sessions where we, as patients, can also learn from each other. Overall, I would highly recommend getting involved with CCRAN through any mode that is suitable for you.