In July 2019, 38-year-old Zach Douglas of Cedar Rapids, IA underwent a CT scan. In the months prior, he had been experiencing various symptoms. Abdominal pain, blood in his stools and he had been running a fever for weeks on end. The scan revealed a large mass in his colon. Additional testing followed and Zach was later diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, meaning the cancer had begun spreading to other organs.
At 38 years old, Zach is not in the demographic typically associated with colorectal cancer. This type of cancer is usually associated with older adults and current guidelines don’t recommend regular screening until age 50. However, Zach fits in to an alarming trend in which the number of instances of colorectal cancer in adults under 50 has been steadily increasing since the 1990’s.
Inspiration to Raise Colon Cancer Awareness and Give Back
Zach’s sister, Susie Douglas from McCall, Idaho got the news and immediately began packing and moving to Cedar Rapids to help support Zach. She was there for his wedding, which was pushed up a month due to his diagnosis and was there through his subsequent battle with pneumonia and as he started chemotherapy. Seeing her brother’s situation up close inspired her to raise awareness about this trend.
“I approached Zach about doing a fundraiser for cancer awareness and to help with his medical bills,” said Susie. “He agreed, but because of the love and support of his care team, asked that all funds go to the Nassif Community Cancer Center.”
Susie, a professional mountain bike instructor, knew just what to do. She began planning a 2500 Miles for Colon Cancer Awareness bike ride on the Great Divide trail. Starting in Montana and ending in New Mexico. She will begin her ride the weekend of July 18. She will provide weekly updates from the trail and we will provide stories, expert content and more with the intent to raise awareness of this trend. Susie also asks for your support. To donate to her fundraiser, click here. One-hundred percent of funds will go to the Community Cancer Center to support local cancer patients.
“It means a lot that she cares enough to take the time to do this,” said Zach. “I believe in the Nassif Community Cancer Center and I think they do great work and I want to support it. So it just means a ton that she’s willing to ride all that way for me.”
How to follow Susie’s Journey and Show Support
To learn more about the 2500 Miles for Colon Cancer Awareness fundraiser, to see updates from her journey and contribute to the campaign visit communitycancercenter.org/2500miles.