My name is Doug Dallmann, and I’m an outdoor-loving stage III rectal cancer survivor. I’m currently hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and want to use this adventure to raise some money for a couple of colorectal cancer organizations whose missions I greatly believe in. I was diagnosed in 2010 at the age of 40, and my dance with the dragon has left me with a permanent ostomy.
Going into surgery, one fear about possibly waking with an ostomy was that it would prevent me from doing all of the things that I love — being in the outdoors, traveling, and having unlimited adventures. My recovery took a few years, many people and organizations that helped me along the way, and I’m happy to say that I'm living life as best I can. Things are a bit different with the ostomy, but I've learned to work around it.
I'm doing all the things I did before cancer, and more — like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail! Hiking the PCT has been at the top of my list for a long time, and this year I made the time for it. Cancer or not, I was going to ultimately hike the PCT. But given my health journey, I want to use this hike as an opportunity to give back. In particular, I hope to raise $2,650 (one dollar for each mile of the PCT) for each of the two following organizations.
The Colon Club (www.colonclub.com)
The Colon Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of colorectal cancer in out-of-the-box ways. Their goal is to educate as many people as possible, as early as possible, about the risk factors and symptoms of colorectal cancer, and for people to get screened when it's appropriate for them. One of their project is On The Rise, a colorectal cancer awareness publication that provides education along with in-depth stories about survivors and their caregivers who were diagnosed under the screening age of 50. I had the fortune to be featured in the 2013 version of the Colondar (the predecessor publication to On The Rise), and have retuned to their yearly retreat/photo-shoot (aka "Colon Camp") as a writer. My appearance in the Colondar and being able to connect with other young survivors was integral to my recovery and went a long way toward restoring my self-esteem after surgery. I want to do my part to help get other young survivors to "colon camp" in the coming years.
Colon Cancer Coalition (www.coloncancercoalition.org)
The Colon Cancer Coalition is a national coalition of people determined to end colorectal cancer diagnoses and death by increasing screening, and educating about the signs and symptoms of this treatable disease. They want all people to understand their risk factors and get the right screening at the right time. Their signature event is the Get Your Rear In Gear 5K Run/Walks that take place around the country. Money raised at these fun runs go to support local colorectal cancer-related screening and awareness efforts. This organization makes a real impact on reducing the incident of colorectal cancer in local communities, and I am proud to support their mission.
I started the hike on May 10, and it should take me to until the end of September if the body holds up. I’ll be posting photos here along the way, but I encourage you to follow along at www.trekkingbadger.wordpress.com.
Please note that although only the Colon Cancer Coalition is the listed charity, all donations will be split equally between The Colon Club and the Colon Cancer Coalition.