Georgetown woman using colorectal cancer diagnosis to educate others
GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - It is a topic we have discussed before, but colorectal cancer in this country is on the rise, with more younger Kentuckians being diagnosed. Doctors stress the cancer is highly preventable with screenings and early detection.
One Georgetown woman turned her diagnosis into a way to reach out to others and in turn allowing herself to heal.
She calls herself an accidental advocate, but really, Kimberly Holiday-Coleman is a survivor with a story she hopes reaches others.
“I was diagnosed in July of 2015 and that came after like seven months of noticeable symptoms,” Holiday-Coleman said.
At 47-years-old, it was “mind blowing” when she was diagnosed with stage 2A colorectal cancer after doctors found a fist-size tumor in her colon.
“Everything changed from that moment, it’s something that is so hard to describe what it feels like, but in that moment it just feels like you are immediately fighting for your life,” Holiday-Coleman said.
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Holiday-Coleman waged her battle, but at the same time she found connection online through others in the same fight. She is one of 12 serving this year as an ambassador for the national organization Fight Colorectal Cancer.
“When I first started seeing Fight CRC and their posts and I started to see a community around them and it just gave me hope, it gave me information, so I just kept sharing their posts. They work with patient advocacy, research, and impactful policy change,” said Holiday-Coleman.
According to Fight Colorectal Cancer, 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented with screening. There are several options, like a colonoscopy and now at-home tests.
In Holiday-Coleman’s case she says she felt off, there was blood in her stool and even when an at home test was negative for colon cancer, she pushed for more answers.
“You know my biggest thing is for people to trust their bodies, trust what your body is telling you,” Holiday-Coleman said.
For this wife and mother, she hasn’t let cancer stop her. She is now an author, proudly shows off her ostomy, which helps her body get rid of waste, even modeling with it on the runway.
Through it all, this survivor continues to use her own story as a source of both education and strength for those in the same fight.
“I want to show that I’m the same as before. I have some scars, I have a bag, my body does not work the same, but my spirit is the same,” said Holiday-Coleman.
Kentucky CancerLink helps Kentucky residents who are uninsured or underinsured get access to no-cost colon cancer screenings either with colonoscopy or at-home tests through the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention program.
It is important to point out that new guidelines say screening age starts at 45 or younger if you have significant family history of colorectal cancer or are experiencing symptoms.
Click here to watch a PSA on colorectal cancer.
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