Press Release

Small Town, Big Bond

Onalaska Woman Finds Support through Online Colorectal Cancer Communities

Tacoma, WA (July 31) – Cancer support networks are imperative when experiencing an illness as frightening as colon cancer. Tacoma native, Janna Parkhurst, knows this too well

Her young sons enthusiastically took on the lion’s share of the chores: cooking, laundry and even painting her nails as she underwent treatment. While people were shopping for presents and preparing for a long holiday week, Parkhurst’s family was learning how colostomy bags worked during the 2015 holiday season. She jokingly named her colostomy bag, “Betty.” The family quickly caught on and gave “Betty” her own stocking at Christmas time.

Searching for more information about colon cancer and looking for help with her ostomy bag, she came across the Colon Cancer Alliance and their online support community, Blue Hope Nation. The Blue Hope Nation, gave her new hope and a sense of camaraderie through her journey.

It’s not one of the most talked about cancers, so when I found the Colon Cancer Alliance, I thought this is the place to be and find things out,” thought Parkhurst.

She also found out about the Colon Cancer Alliance’s annual Undy Run/Walk online. From the moment she saw it, she just knew she had to do it. The Undy Run/Walk is where hundreds of people gather together and hit the trails, rocking underwear-themed costumes to raise money and awareness for colon cancer prevention while honoring those living with the disease and those gone too soon. Parkhurst is leading the charge in garnering her family and friends to participate in the annual Tacoma Undy Run/Walk coming up on August 19th at Wright Park.

“It is so much fun and there is so much support. And everybody has the greatest attitude. I really felt like I belonged,” said Parkhurst as she eagerly prepares for Tacoma.

This year 95,520 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer and 50,260 will die from this disease. In Washington, 2,720 of the state’s residents have been diagnosed and 970 people have died as a result of colon cancer. The Colon Cancer Alliance is dedicated to doubling the number of patients and families served, investing $10 million in research and saving over 100,000 lives through increased screening over the next five years.

“Our support networks, Blue Hope Nation and the Undy Run/Walk series, are the fabric of the Colon Cancer Alliance’s mission. We are committed to letting our survivors and caregivers know that they are not alone,” says Colon Cancer Alliance CEO, Michael Sapienza.

Parkhurst was eventually declared free of colon cancer in February 2017, but dedicates her time to the colon cancer community.

“[Colon cancer patients and survivors] are never alone. There is always someone with them. There is always someone to pray with them and for them. They don’t have to be embarrassed,” says Parkhurst.

To register for the 2017 Tacoma Undy Run/Walk coming up soon this August 19 at Wright Park or to learn how to put together a team, please visit The 2017 Tacoma Undy Run/Walk is sponsored in part by Digestive Health Specialists and MultiCare Health System.

To learn more about the largest online support network for the colorectal cancer community, join Blue Hope Nation or call the helpline 877.422.2030 led by certified patient navigators.

About the Colon Cancer Alliance

The Colon Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colon cancer within our lifetime. Working with our nation of passionate advocates, we are empowered to support the needs of patients and survivors, eager to raise awareness of preventative screening, and poised to help fund critical research. We are fiercely determined to end colon cancer once and for all.

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