By Julianne Mosher
A local Miller Place woman is spreading the word that colonoscopies can help save a life during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March.
When Dawn Platt was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, she knew she wanted to use this experience to help others.
“Four days after my first colonoscopy, I heard those three words, ‘you have cancer,’ and it changed everything,” she said.
Then just 51 years old, the Miller Place resident went through surgeries and chemotherapy to fight it. Now, four years later, she’s in survivorship mode and doing a lot better. “There’s no evidence of disease,” Blatt said. And now her goal is to get the word out.
“I knew that I had to make this into something positive that can be an impact to other people,” she added.
Last year, Blatt became an ambassador for Fight Colorectal Cancer, the nation’s leading colorectal cancer advocacy organization. One of 14, she will be featured in a national campaign to promote awareness of colorectal (colon and rectal) cancer, which is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. for men
“Each year Fight CRC selects a group of ambassadors from across the country to represent our community year-round,” said Anjee Davis, president of Fight CRC, in a statement. “They bravely rally to raise awareness for this disease. … We hope their stories resonate with people and provoke the over 30 million people aged 45 years and older who have not been screened to get screened.”
Officially launching in Times Square Feb. 26, the public service announcement will appear during the NASDAQ Opening Bell Ceremony at 9 a.m. Her story will also be featured on Fight CRC’s social media pages starting in March. She will join the organization by heading down to the Capitol for a call on Congress to discuss issues and advocate funding for cancer research.
“Colon cancer can be preventable,” Blatt said. “I want to help people and if I can talk to legislators about it, then I’m going to.”
Sixty percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with screening, especially if someone knows that it runs in their family. “After joining Fight CRC, I have seen and heard a lot,” Blatt said. “It’s important to get yourself checked out in your 50s, but even now for people in their 20s and 30s.”
She’s hoping that her advocacy will save someone’s life. “Colonoscopies may not be the most pleasant thing, but it’s better than surgery and chemo,” she said. “Go get checked out. … Knowledge is power.”
Blatt added that Friday, March 6, is Wear Blue Day to raise awareness and fight CRC.