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A weekend of resilience, hope and unity

Dr. Bahar Adeli shares about her experience attending the United in Blue Rally and Fight CRC Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.
2024 Fight CRC Rally in Washington DC
2024 Fight CRC Rally in Washington DC
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Article contributed by guest author: Bahar Adeli, MD

This weekend, I had the privilege of representing AGA in Washington, D.C., participating in an event that was both heartrending and inspiring: the United in Blue Rally and the Fight for Colorectal Cancer Advocacy Day on the Hill. It was a gathering that showcased the epitome of human resilience, hope and the unwavering spirit of those affected by colorectal cancer (CRC).

As a physician, the journey through the medical field is replete with encounters of human suffering and triumphs over illnesses. However, nothing could have prepared me for the profound connections I would make with the beautiful souls I met over the weekend. From survivors who have been cancer-free for over 20 years to those freshly diagnosed and fighting bravely, each person’s story was a unique testament to the human spirit’s indomitability.

Among these remarkable individuals were also caregivers, some of whom have faced the agony of losing loved ones to this disease, while others live with the haunting genetic predisposition that took their loved ones away. Yet, in the face of such adversity, there was a palpable sense of unity and purpose. Through our conversations a clear call to action emerged: it was time for our policymakers to make immediate, impactful legislative change to prioritize CRC, by giving us a bipartisan commitment for substantial funding and a promise to support policy solutions that improve all of our lives.

This weekend wasn’t just about solidarity. Amid these powerful stories and shared experiences, there was a clarion call to action for policymakers for immediate and impactful action. We need our legislators to recognize the urgency of the situation and to prioritize CRC now with a bipartisan commitment to substantial funding and advocacy.

Lives are currently in jeopardy. What was once considered sufficient, falls markedly short now. Every moment counts in the battle against this formidable foe. The time for change is now.

One of the most poignant moments for me was realizing the power of perspective. Amidst the discussions, a survivor shared a thought that resonated deeply with me: “Every day is a bonus day.” This simple yet profound statement reminded me of the preciousness of life. It echoed the reality that our existence is, in itself, miraculous, and every day we are given is an opportunity to make a difference.

The weekend was not just about sharing experiences but also about learning from them. The courage, humor and zest for life exhibited by those with stage four colon cancer were incredibly moving. Their determination to make a difference, despite the odds, was a powerful reminder of the strength inherent in human resolve.

As I walked among the flags in front of Capitol Hill, each representing the lives that could be saved through early screening, I was reminded of a universal truth that transcends our external differences – we are all the same on the inside. This experience reinforced my conviction in the importance of compassion, understanding and collective effort in the fight against colorectal cancer.

This weekend in D.C. was an enriching experience that deepened my understanding of both the challenges and the incredible resilience faced by those affected by colorectal cancer. It reaffirmed the importance of awareness, early detection and the continuous search for a cure. As we move forward, let us all remember that every day is a bonus day, and together, we can make a significant impact in the fight against this disease.

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