Cancer survivor organizes run to support others

Cancer survivor organizes run to support others

Sharon Wells led a very active lifestyle, however, she suddenly began noticing herself running short of breath and becoming light-headed during her fitness activities. The Barlett, Ill., resident made an appointment at Advocate Sherman Hospital to have some blood tests.

While hiking in the mountains of Wyoming with her family, Sharon Wells found out the devastating news: she had colorectal cancer.

“One positive was receiving the news in a peaceful setting with no one around except family,” says Sharon Wells.

Since then, Sharon has received treatment and is currently in remission.

Sharon and her husband, Devin Wells, decided they needed to turn a negative experience into a positive one so they reached out to the Colon Cancer Coalition, a charity that helps raise funds for colon cancer education, awareness and prevention.

They signed up to participate in a fundraising 5k, Get Your Rear in Gear. They also decided to organize a race in Elgin. With the support of the Colon Cancer Coalition, Elgin’s first annual Get Your Rear in Gear was hosted on Aug. 2, 2014 – exactly one year after Sharon’s lifesaving colonoscopy.

Experts agree that the support a patient receives is one of the most important factors when dealing with cancer.

Sharon and Devin Wells shared their experience with health enews:

As a husband, how did you create a support system around her to help her through diagnosis and the proceeding surgery?

DEVIN: I think the biggest thing I did was I stayed calm throughout the entire experience, which helped her stay relaxed.  While Sharon was going through her actual procedure, we were surrounded by a great number of friends and family so we knew if there was anything we needed done, there was always someone willing to do it.

Why was it so important to give back by creating the Get Your Rear in Gear – Elgin?

SHARON: After spending several horrible days thinking, “Why me?” I realized the real question should be, “Why anyone?” I saw putting on this event simply as an extension of the job I have as a physical therapist and another way to serve the community I work in.

For others dealing with a devastating diagnosis, what advice would you give them when it comes to support?

DEVIN: Try to be there and help in whatever that will bring as much comfort and strength as possible to the person diagnosed. Sharon is still amazed that I stayed calm during her treatment. Just stay as positive as you can.

Why do you believe a strong support system is so important when battling something like colon cancer?

SHARON: My husband and I are generally very private people, but my doctor was absolutely correct when she told me that cancer is not something you should ever try to face alone. Having a good support system allows you to draw the strength you need from other people, but also gives you other shoulders to cry on when things seem too difficult. Our time on Earth is short and precious. Now, I make sure to take time to listen more closely to people and enjoy the moments we spend together.

Click here to register of donate for this year’s Get Your Rear in Gear – Elgin, which will take place on Aug. 1.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.