Lenni’s Story: From Darkness to Light

I emailed CCRAN 3 days after my diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer with mets to the liver. It was so new, so devastating. I didn’t yet know what I was looking for, only that I needed help getting through it and figuring out where to go from here.

Filomena replied the next day. She has been a lifeline for me ever since.

Talking to Filomena, I felt an immediate sense of comfort. My life was not over. There is helpful, useful information and an entire network of people that can help me navigate this. I felt a sense of confidence for the first time since the fateful day I was told “you have cancer.” I felt like I had a community of smart, experienced, committed people in my corner – led by the force of nature that is Filomena – who would help me and advocate for me, in big ways and small. I reached out to several organizations, and it is the advocacy and action that stood out with CCRAN – more than just offering a list of resources or courses. Filomena acted quickly whenever I needed anything or had a question. With CCRAN, I feel I have a team of experts, partners, and friends.

The thing I needed most in the earliest days was peer support. I have so much incredible support from family and friends, but it is so helpful being able to talk with someone who has gone through it. And within days, CCRAN matched me with Hayley Painter, an amazing human being. When we spoke, for the first time since my diagnosis, I felt like a person, not a patient. What a blessing. I will spend the rest of my life thanking her for that, as I now consider her a forever friend.

I believe in the mind/body connection to support healing. I am absolutely confident that I was able to start treatments with a strong, positive, hopeful mindset in no small measure because of Filomena and Hayley. And while it’s still early, so far, so good; treatments are going very well and I feel confident, capable, and ready for this next chapter in my life.

CCRAN, my heartfelt thanks for the life-affirming work you do.


Stage IV Thriver