BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.—When you think of colon cancer, you tend to think of it as something people in their 60’s or older are at risk for. However, that is not always the case. At just 29-years-old, Joy O’Connell was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer early last year.
“She’s a registered nurse, so she knows her body and how her body is supposed to function. She knew something was a little off, but she used to always push it off on just being tired, working too hard and being a mom,” said Laura Geiger Caddell, a family friend.
According to Colon Cancer Alliance, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the U.S. The American Cancer Society estimates 136,830 people will be diagnosed in 2014 and 50,310 will die from colon cancer in the United States.
“She didn’t have very many symptoms, and you don’t have very many symptoms when it comes to colon cancer,” she said.
“The biggest message that she wants to get out is that you need to pay attention to your body and to the warning signs that your body gives you.”
After several rounds of chemotherapy and flying back and forth to Texas for treatment, doctors recently told the young mother to two boys, 21-months and four-years-old, that there is nothing more they could do. Doctors have told her she now only has two to four weeks to live. She’s only 30-years-old.
“Joy hasn’t wanted any visitors except for her family which is understandable,” said Geiger Caddell. “Joy is in a place where she is trying to accept what’s happening to her. Kevin, her husband, is pretty upset. He’s having a hard time processing everything, and it hurts when your friend hurts.”
Geiger Caddell has known Kevin, a Christian counselor, since college. The two attended North Greenville as well as church together. After learning his wife only has a limited time left, he’s chosen to take two months off of unpaid leave to be at home with his dying wife.
“I really want to back him and let him know that, ‘hey, finances right now are one thing that you shouldn’t have to worry about while you’re worrying about your wife and two small kids,” said Geiger Caddell.
To help the O’Connell family with their finances during this difficult time, Geiger Caddell is hosting a Chicken Bog Benefit.
“We’re asking people to please order your tickets in advance so we have an idea of how many people are going to be showing up,” said Geiger Caddell.
The dinners can be purchased on April 10th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m at Santee Circle Community Church in Moncks Corner.
The dinners will cost just $7 and will include chicken bog, green beans, cole slaw, bread and dessert.
For details on the upcoming event, click here.
To order a plate, you can call the church at 843-899-5912 or Laura Geiger Caddell at 843-729-0545.
Organizers are asking folks to order in advance so they can have an idea of how many plates to prepare. If interested in purchasing a plate, you can order up until April 3rd.
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