Survivor and Founder
Valerie draws daily inspiration from Jesus and the fact that he died so that we could live. It is the motivation for her motto: “Live to Live”; and, with a positive spirit, she has been able to turn some of life’s devastating defeats into triumphs. She is a colon cancer survivor; has earned a masters degree after being declared legally blind; and, because of these incredible achievements, created a non-profit organization, Crusaders for Colon Cancer, Inc.
For several years I prayed to God asking, “What is my “PURPOSE?” On February 23, 2011, life as I once knew it was totally changed. I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and since undergoing treatment, I thank God that as of today, I have no evidence of disease.
During my journey, I was able to form relationships with people from all walks of life. Unfortunately, I spoke with many people who were unable to receive standard of care treatment due to their inability to pay. It was disheartening to know that people had to choose perhaps between eating and paying household expenses or to use those funds for treatment-related costs! People just like me actually had to choose between life-saving therapy or death! I was inspired to do something to help. Suddenly, I had a revelation…I knew my “PURPOSE!”
I am the founder of Crusaders for Colon Cancer, Inc. (“CCCI”), a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to conquer colorectal cancer by providing evidence-based education of the modifiable risk factors, screening, early detection as well as providing support to colorectal patients, survivors, caregivers and other patient advocates.
By promoting community awareness in the Greater Houston/Galveston metropolitan area, we have the opportunity to foster healthy lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Crusaders for Colon Cancer, Inc.’s endeavors are to ultimately impact the survival rate of colorectal cancer by encouraging the appropriate screening as well as providing information regarding the early symptoms/risk factors. The goal of the organization is to annually provide funding for colon cancer screening and associated costs for individuals in under-served communities.
Like me, approximately 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year. If caught in earliest stages, the 5 year survival rate is over 90%. Colon cancer is the number two cancer killer of men and women in the United States. Navy blue is the color that represents colorectal cancer; therefore it would be an honor if you, survivors, family members and friends would wear blue during the month of March as it is nationally recognized as colon cancer awareness month.
Many people cringe at the thought of having a colonoscopy. I was one of those people. But by the grace of God a colonoscopy, treatment, my family, a strong support system, along with countless prayers, saved my life…The Tail’s End…
community outreach coordinator
Jacquelyn is an educator of 12 years in the public school setting k-12; she has taught for five years and was a campus principal for 6. In her current role as a central office administrator, Program Administrator in the Division of Interventions and Accountability, she is responsible for implementing and monitoring intervention strategies to retain students in school. In addition to the public school setting, she is an adjunct professor at a community college in Northeast Harris County.
As a district administrator, she conducted several professional development workshops for teachers and campus leaders. She has spoken at Region IV’s first Summer Institute for educators from around the Houston corridor as well as being a keynote speaker in Oklahoma City for a ladies’ retreat.
Jacquelyn earned her Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Houston-Downtown, a Masters of Education from Prairie View A&M University and is currently All But Dissertation (ABD) from her doctorate degree from Walden University.
With these cumulative education and professional attainments, she wants to become more actively involved in community services. Although she has participated in community events like cancer walks with Sister To Sister, Avon, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and have helped the Houston Food Bank, there is still much work to do. Since she has the experience of coordinating major events like community health fairs, she feels now is the time to extend her talents with Crusaders for Colon Cancer as the Community Outreach Coordinator.