It seems like every celebrity has a cause. They cynical part of me wonders if there is any real passion behind the fundraising or if it’s just the cool thing to do to have a charity to support. But when I read about or watch Katie Couric share about her initiatives to stamp out colon cancer, I know she’s the real deal. To increase awareness of colon cancer in the month of March, Katie shared some of her story about how she became an advocate for colon screening and education.
Sometimes a cause finds you even when you are not looking. Eighteen years ago, Katie got a phone call her husband. Jay Monahan, was doubled over in pain. Jay’s bowel was completely obstructed by a tumor the size of an orange. After a 9-month battle, colon cancer took Jay’s life. Now, Katie has made it her life’s work to be a spokeswoman for cancer. She founded Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) with eight other women, and she has TV networks as full collaborators. Athletes, television personalities and big screen actors and actresses have joined with Katie to support her cause, but there is still more work to do. She says this of her ongoing work: “There has been progress, but it’s uneven. A 30 percent decline in colon cancer cases is encouraging, but so many people who should be getting screened aren’t. The well-to-do-and/or well educated largely get tested, while the medically underserved and the uninsured often do not.”
Katie has also impacted individuals on a personal level, engaging in conversations with people she encounters on an everyday basis. She is touched when men and women open up about how cancer has affected someone they love. Remember how she aired her colonoscopy on national television to support the importance of regular colon screenings? Katie says that, more than any other comment, when people meet her they often say, “I got a colonoscopy because of you, and it saved my life!”
Who would have guessed that one of the most recognizable news anchors would someday be just as well-known for her advocacy for cancer? Sometimes life takes us in directions that we could never imagine and gives us passions that surprise us. It is impossible to put a number on how many millions of people have been impacted by Katie Couric’s courage and determination to spread awareness about cancer, but her effect has been profound. Maybe you won’t remember any specific interviews that Katie has done in her career, but you probably won’t forget her passion for cancer screening, early detection and treatment. She certainly would prefer that. Every man or woman who is influenced by her campaign is a way to honor her late husband’s memory. This is not just a temporary cause that will be thrown to the wayside. She’s in this for the long haul and it shows. Katie Couric’s passion is real. Her mission is clear. And I’m a believer.