INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Statehouse floor was filled Wednesday morning with people all fighting against the same opponent — cancer.
However, on Indiana Cancer Action Day, they hope more will answer the call to fight with them.
“This is for the state of Indiana,” said former NBA player and TV Analyst Quinn Buckner. “All Hoosiers need to be aware.”
Lawmakers who stood with the survivors Wednesday wore suits and sneakers in solidarity with cancer survivors and people who are still fighting. The goal for advocates in 2020 is to get a bill passed to bring the screening age for colon cancer down to 45 so doctors can have a chance to save more lives.
“The age that we’re seeing colon cancer diagnosed is under 50,” said survivor and advocate Andrea Bauer. “In two months I’ve lost about four friends all under 50 when diagnosed.”
Advocates like Bauer want lawmakers to help people get screened early, because in this ongoing fight, you can’t hit what you don’t see.
Bauer lost her father in 2008 to cancer only to get a shocking diagnosis of her own eight years later. She was told she had colon cancer at age 35, but after months of treatment she was cleared.
“Next year will be a big year because it will be my 40th birthday and I will be five years cancer free,” she said.
At age 47, Tricia Rounds is in the middle of her battle with Stage 3 colorectal cancer, but days like Wednesday remind her she’s got help.
“It’s very emotional to see all these people that find this very important to them,” she said.
It makes her want to inspire others who are going through the same thing, Rounds said.
“Just be strong,” Rounds said. “It’s all about attitude. You can be sad and feel sorry for yourself but that’s not going to get you anywhere.”
In order to help get the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s point across the organization put a 20-foot-long inflatable colon on display in the middle of the statehouse.
It’s all to let lawmakers know, if they want to save more lives, the time is now.
“If I waited until 50 I wouldn’t be standing here right now,” Rounds said.
“Go get tested and get these things looked at,” Buckner said. “Because in today’s society sometimes we’ll say I’ll do it tomorrow and seizing the day is the only day that you have.”
For more on the American Cancer Society Cancer Cancer Action Network’s efforts click here.