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From Homelessness to Colon Cancer Advocate, With Candace Henley

Candace Henley

From Homelessness to Colon Cancer Advocate, With Candace Henley

Candace Henley says she was “Superwoman” prior to her colon cancer diagnosis. The mother of five children, she worked out at the gym, drove a bus for the Chicago Transit Authority and was involved in her church.

When she was diagnosed with stage IIB colon cancer the effects were devastating; not just physically, but also emotionally and financially. Her husband left her, she lost her job, her car and her home. Inspired by the care and support of many, particularly her children, she fought her way back.

In an effort to raise awareness about colon cancer in the African-American community, Candace created Blue Hat BowTie Sunday. In March of 2015, she was  recognized by the Zeta Phi Beta sorority as their Woman of the Year. Candace was also one of four women whose story was profiled in Women’sHealth Magazine.

What Candace Henley Learned From Surviving Colon Cancer

  • I learned there is no room for self-pity- (“Why should I fight it, I’m going to die anyway”). Who really knows when they are going to die? Those that love you want you to fight and if they could they would fight for you but, truth is “Your survivorship should not be more important to everyone but you!”

  • I learned that you will lose friends as result of fear and ignorance about what cancer is and no matter how many times you tell them they can’t get it if they touch you.

  • I learned that I am happier than I was before cancer. When you survive cancer, you see life in HD. Things seem brighter, smell better and feel better. The things you use to take advantage of somehow become more exciting and make you want to slow down and savor moments as long as you can.

  • I learned that laughter is healing and good medicine. I remember reading that laughter had healing properties and I was desperate to feel something other than pain and anger so, I started watching America’s funniest home videos and spending more time with family and friends.

  • I learned that LIVESTRONG is not as easy as it sounds.

  • I learned that I would have missed being a grandmother.

  • I learned I would become an advocate for others like me.

  • I learned that I would encourage others not only about making it day by day but, making it through life.

  • I learned that you will not be the person you use to be and you have to find your “New Normal”.

  • I learned that God does answer prayers.

  • I learned that cancer is not a punishment from God.

  • I learned to forgive myself for being angry and forgive others who hurt or left me when I needed them most.

  • I learned that cancer is an exclusive club that does not discriminate. People you might not otherwise meet from all walks of life become lifelong friends as a result of a cancer diagnosis.

  • I learned my purpose in life.

  • I learned to live my best life now


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