Through the service of nearly 2,000 volunteers across the country, the lives of colorectal cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers are greatly improved, and we grow closer to ending this disease together. In this Q&A, get to know Ashley Bowman, a passionate and dedicated Colorectal Cancer Alliance volunteer from Chicago, and consider becoming one yourself.
Can you tell us about yourself and your connection to colorectal cancer?
I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, and clinical research professional. I am connected to the alliance as a volunteer and member of the Never Too Young Taskforce board. My sister was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer at age 35 when she was two months postpartum. With no family history or symptoms, this caught my family by total surprise. Unfortunately, she passed away at age 37 in September of 2022, and I have been committed ever since.
Why did you sign up to volunteer with the Alliance?
I signed up to volunteer with the Alliance to put my pain into purpose. My sister was so happy she found the Alliance during her treatment. I told her that I would volunteer and hoped that we would have the opportunity to do it together. Unfortunately, time did not allow this, but I did keep my word. I often wonder, if she had found the alliance sooner and had their available resources, would she still be here to tell her own story.
What have you found most rewarding about your volunteer service?
Meeting others and being able to connect based on individual experiences and realizing how similar they are. In addition, when meeting others while I volunteer at community events, they are usually interested in my connection to the Alliance, and being able to share my sister’s story allows for me to have a deeper connection with whom I am speaking and network with other groups at the same events.
How do you think volunteerism impacts the mission to end colorectal cancer?
Volunteerism impacts the mission to end colorectal cancer because it allows me to share the knowledge that I have gained since being a part of the Alliance. I can only hope that by talking to me in person, or seeing my social media posts about my sister that it gives someone the extra push to be their own advocate for early screening or to inform someone they know about the information that I share.
Can you share a memorable moment you’ve had while volunteering with the Alliance?
Attending AllyCamp and the Blue Hope Bash as a volunteer leader has been my most memorable moment. I was able to connect and learn with other allies as we all have the same goal in spreading awareness and being stronger for our communities! While “out in the field” it’s been staff remembering me when I return for future events, knowing that I can connect well with others and continue to be relatable.
In this Q&A, get to know Jill Loftus, a passionate and dedicated Colorectal Cancer Alliance volunteer from Denver.
We are incredibly grateful for everyone's support of the mission to end colorectal cancer. But what does that support look like? Here’s what allies helped make happen in 2023.
Mancini, a stage III colorectal cancer survivor, was presented with the Blue Star Award, which honors an individual who displays conviction and unwavering dedication to the Alliance’s mission.