MCC Inspiration Award (for survivors)

No one should face cancer alone. Courageous, determined, resolute, faithful; these are the faces of cancer survivors. This award is given to someone who exemplifies these words and lifts up others in the face of their own diangoisis.

MCC Inspiration Award ~ criteria

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In October 2015, at 32 years old, Jessica was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer. She was told it was inoperable and incurable. Her social worker at Karmanos Cancer Institute said to her, "cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence and one can learn to manage and handle it like any other chronic disease". Jessica went on to complete 12 aggressive rounds of chemotherapy and remains on a maintenance treatment today.

She has continued to work full time and in her passion to help others, Jessica decided to speak out. Jessica applied to become an ambassador for the Fight Colorectal Cancer Organization and flew to Missouri for a training program. She and her husband Aaron were selected to be ambassadors for the organization. As part of this effort she was featured on the Jumbotron in Times Square, New York City so that everyone could see that you are never too young to get colorectal cancer.

Jessica was also successful in the initiative to have Governor Snyder proclaim March as Colorectal Cancer Month in Michigan 2017. Additionally, she will be one of the featured survivors in On the Rise magazine that helps spread awareness that colorectal cancer is not limited to older men but effects men and women of all ages and that it is on the rise with those under 50.

Jessica is a participant in a young adults with cancer support group at Karmanos Cancer Institute's Weisberg Center where she mentors other recently diagnosed. During March 2017, she and her social worker created a campaign/public education event about early detection of colorectal cancer and encouraged people to be aware of signs of colorectal cancer and receive screening. Art groups at the center created boxer short posters that were placed around the building with message to the public around symptoms and screening using catchy phrases like, “Save the Butts” and “Get your Rear in the Clear;” literature was made available to the public as well. Weisberg Center staff participated as well by wearing boxer shorts over their scrubs as a reminder of the importance of screenings. This event received local media coverage and Jessica was interviewed along with her oncologist; she was receiving treatment at the time.

She is an inspiration for her efforts locally and nationally to spread awareness about colorectal cancer and to educate the public. When it comes to cancer, she believes, "Never give up, and never give in.”