By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer
(March 30, 2023) Colorectal cancer, or CRC, is the second deadliest cancer in the United States.
This issue hits close to home for Linda Dearing and her husband, Michael, owners of Copy Central on Cathell Road in Ocean Pines. They lost their daughter, Gina to the disease in 2014 at age 37.
To honor their daughter, they created Gina’s Warriors Comfort Fund, an effort that helps patients undergoing chemotherapy to afford wigs, cover the cost of pain therapy or acupuncture treatments, along with expenses related to nourishment, transportation, housekeeping and childcare.
“The money goes directly to colon cancer patients,” Dearing said.
During March, which is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Dearing’s decorate their store to raise awareness for colon cancer and raise money for Gina’s Warriors. The month is almost over, but residents can still help by dropping off a donation at the shop.
The Dearings have raised about $500 this month for Gina’s Warriors and about $15,000 since the launch of the foundation. Those who donate $5 or more by March 31, will be entered into a drawing for a painting by local artist Shirley Eppard.
The money goes to colon cancer patients at Carroll Hospital Center (CHC), where Gina was treated. CHC manages the distribution to patients at no charge.
“My mission is to help someone else not go through what we went through,” Dearing said. “Gina was a mother of three and she worked. She did not take the time to take care of herself. By the time she did, she had stage 4 colon cancer.”
Knowing that the foundation is giving back and helping others gives her peace.
“If I could win the lotto or the Powerball, I would have a whole wing added to the hospital for colon cancer patients.”
In addition to the March fundraising campaign, the foundation hosts other fundraisers including a golf tournament, which this year will be in Littlestown,Pennsylvania.
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Facts about Colorectal Cancer
- Colorectal cancer (cancer in the colon or rectum) first develops with few, if any, symptoms. Be proactive and talk to your doctor.
- The incidence rate of colorectal cancer is rising by about 2 percent annually in young people. By 2030, researchers predict that colorectal cancer will be the leading cause of cancer deaths in people ages 20-49.
- If you’re in the high-risk group or have a family history of colorectal cancer, you should be getting screened earlier than age 50.
- In the U.S. approximately 10 percent of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed in individuals under age 50.
- New guidelines state that all average-risk people aged 45 and above should begin screening for colorectal cancer.
Information provided by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance at www.ccalliance.org