Be There for the Ones You Love: Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer

For years, Sharon Grant helped people schedule colonoscopies with Multnomah County Health Department. She understood the significance of preventive screenings and worked hard to convey this to clients.

A year after retiring from this position, colorectal cancer tragically showed up in her life. “I lost the love of my life to colorectal cancer.”

Sharon met Darryl when they were in high school, although they didn’t date until years later. They lost touch when Sharon went off to college and Darryl served in the military.

Fast forward through various careers, romantic partners, and moves, Sharon and Darryl found their way back to each other. Several decades after high school, Darryl reached out to Sharon and visited her in Portland.

“Even though we hadn’t seen each other since high school,” Sharon said, “that visit was it for me.” After that, they visited each other in Portland and Virginia and met each other’s children.

Throughout his life, Darryl experienced numerous hardships, including overcoming colorectal cancer several years earlier. When he got news that the cancer had returned, he chose not to seek further treatment.

When he told Sharon, she respected his choice. “When he said he wasn’t going to do anything, I understood, even though I was completely devastated.” she said.

Darryl was told he had 3 months to live, but passed away only 6 weeks later. He was 68 years old. His funeral was crowded with friends, family and those who loved and respected him.

“There aren’t many good ways to die,” Sharon says, “but this is horrible and it’s horrible to put families through.”

Early Screening Means More Treatment Options

Even though Darryl chose to not treat his cancer, there are options for early screening and treatment. The earlier the cancer is caught, the more treatment options are available. Sharon, with her experience working for the Health Department, wants people to get screened early.

“A lot of people think you wait until you’re older to start worrying about your health,” she says. “We know screenings catch problems early, which is the point of screening. I’m not sure that people understand that screening is to catch things early, not to find out if you have something to die from. Let’s figure out what we need to do earlier rather than later.”

Sharon shares her story to encourage others to get screened for colorectal cancer, and to address the health needs of communities of color. Through her advocacy, she honors Darryl’s memory.

“Even though we spent most of our lives apart from each other, no matter who we were with at the time, for both of us, we were meant to be together.”

Schedule a Screening Today

Talk to your doctor, or call us at 503-988-5558

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