Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
“Supporters of Lakeridge Health Foundation make miracles happen with their donations. And I'm living proof of that.”
After his initial diagnosis almost two years ago, Steve Slack can finally say his body is free from disease.
A lot has changed since last spring when Steve first shared his message with our Foundation family.
“I was still actively in chemotherapy and that proceeded through part of the summer,” recalled Steve. “Then in August, they called to let me know I could skip a round. Then two rounds.”
After a chemotherapy session in September, he received even better news from his oncologist, Dr. Jeffery Rothenstein. “It was like music to my ears,” Steve said excitedly. “Dr. Rothenstein said he no longer saw a reason for me to be on chemotherapy at that point.”
Two more scans in December and March have only shown 3 or 4 small tumours that Steve’s specialists believe are dead tissue.
“It doesn't mean cancer-free. Cancer-free is something different,” he explained. “But what it means is that for the time being, there is no visible disease anywhere in my body.”
Through his cancer journey, Steve not only became one of Lakeridge Health Foundation’s advocates for fundraising during Our Cancer Campaign, but he’s become a voice for cancer fighters.
“When I think back to the Gala in May of last year, when I was still in the thick of it all and telling my story up at the podium, I think my message to the room at the time was about hope and how supporting the Foundation that night was a gift of hope to cancer patients like me,” said Steve.
Then hope turned into something even bigger – because what was once a scary prognosis for the Slack Family had turned into an incredible result and proof that the right treatment can really work.
“The supporters of Lakeridge Health Foundation make miracles happen with their donations. And I'm living proof of that.”
With March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Steve reflected on his journey, how it began and how his cancer could have been detected and treated sooner.
“If you remember my story, I had the symptoms at 46 and my doctor diagnosed me as having food sensitivities,” he recalled. “I waited two whole years of just assuming I ate the wrong thing.”
“After two years, thank God I finally went back to my doctor and said – I think you'd better send me for a colonoscopy, because I think there's something more here.”
Steve’s first piece of advice to people is to pay attention to their bodies. “If things are changing, or they’re not normal, don’t dismiss them,” said Steve. “You need to talk about it right away.”
“Also know the risk factors and the warning signs,” he continued. “Symptoms you should be looking for are rectal bleeding, changes in your bowel habits and abdominal pain. And if you’re experiencing these symptoms, go see your family doctor, visit urgent care, or go to the Emergency Department.”
Steve has also gone international with his advocacy, joining the Colorectal Cancer Resource & Action Network that champions the health and wellbeing of Canadians touched by colorectal cancer and others at risk of developing the disease.
“It’s a great organization,” he explained. “They have no interest other than helping people who have colorectal cancer or those that have been affected by it by providing support, education and advocacy.”
Steve never imagined that going public with his story would have such an impact on others going through similar journeys.
“I give them support, advice, and try to answer their questions,” Steve said. “It's kind of crazy that the power of social media opened that door and I'm so happy to be able to support these other people in Durham Region that are going through what I've been through.”
On behalf of Steve and the Slack Family, thank you for your continued support of cancer care in Durham Region and beyond. Your generosity is truly changing lives every day.