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One local’s personal reasons to push for colon health

Wow! It’s hard for me to believe it’s 2024. I guess it’s so hard for me to believe because, in many ways, it feels like I’ve lived 100 years in the past few. 

Anyone else feel like that? I mean, for one, if you’re reading this, then you, too, have made it through to the other side of a global pandemic. You, too, have learned to function in what was once referred to as a “new normal.” (Though I don’t think it’s considered all that “new” anymore.) And if you work in an office setting, you too, have learned how to function in a virtual/hybrid work environment where water cooler talk now all takes place on Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and we are all dressed in our respective “mullet” attire: business casual on top, yoga pants on the bottom or some equivalent thereof. 

Yes, the world has changed quite a bit over the last few years, and that likely made for some good conversations with friends and family over the most recent holiday season. So, yes, in many ways it’s hard for me to believe that it’s JUST 2024. 

But for me, I feel like I’ve aged exponentially in a million other ways too, because while all that was going on around all of us, my world was unraveling. My “person” was sick, and he was stoically not telling a soul. My husband of 21 years, Jamey Hollingsworth, the man who would let the common cold incapacitate him from all home life and parenting chores, stoically didn’t let on he was experiencing so many of the first signs of colorectal cancer. And things I noticed and would ask him about, he just chalked up to aging and his upcoming 50th birthday. And when things started to get even worse, he blamed it on the undercooked lobster dinner I served on Father’s Day – a night we both ended up in the bathroom, but, unlike him, I reemerged and started to feel better a few hours later. 

But when his symptoms didn’t clear up, he finally went to see a doctor and was scheduled for a colonoscopy that immediately identified a tumor so large and so obviously cancerous, that it couldn’t be removed at that time. Mind you, had he had a colonoscopy at 45, the now-recommended age to first get screened, I wouldn’t be sharing our story with you now because I would have no story to tell. During an early detection colonoscopy, doctors can remove polyps and had Jamey had one at that age, I wouldn’t be a widow today, and our daughters, now 16 and 19, wouldn’t be fatherless, with no one to vet a boyfriend, see them graduate or one day walk them down the aisle. 

Yes, the prep work for a colonoscopy is no fun. But you know what is really no fun? Chemotherapy and colostomy bags are way less fun. If you’re reading this, you are probably wondering what the symptoms are. I’m so glad you asked! Symptoms you should watch for include:

  • A change in bowel habits
  • Diarrhea, constipation or the feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Discomfort in the abdomen, including frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and cramps
  • Blood in the stool
  • Stools that look thinner than normal
  • Weight loss with no known explanation
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Unexplained iron deficiency

And friends, while 45 is now the recommended age to have your first colonoscopy, if you have a family history or you’re experiencing symptoms, go see your doctor and get screened even sooner. 

And if you know someone who fits any of the aforementioned criteria, encourage them to have a colonoscopy. Believe me, it’s better to be a figurative pain in their butt now than to have a hole in your heart later.  Trust me; I speak from experience. Colon and colorectal cancer are both preventable with early detection. And while colonoscopy prep makes for one bad night, grief over losing a loved one lasts forever. 

So, while New Year’s Eve may be over, you still have all of 2024 to make your health a priority and ensure that this year, and all the years to come, are truly happy.  

If you would like to help support our efforts to raise awareness about colorectal cancer prevention, you can make a donation to the Hollingsworth Colorectal Cancer Awareness Fund at, or by joining us at the upcoming Spring Corn Hole tournament on April 27 to celebrate Spring, health and happiness during Jamey’s birthday month – a month he should have been turning 53.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram at Hollingsworth Colorectal Cancer Awareness Fund. And if you’d like to walk alongside me and my girls as we continue to grow and evolve and share insights, check out the blog,

Lastly, I want to give a big shout-out and thank you to the current board members of the Hollingsworth Foundation. Without all of you, Jamey’s mission to save lives by spreading awareness would not be possible. My appreciation goes out to: 

  • Scott Barringer 
  • Todd Greene
  • Alan Hand
  • Carey Hollingsworth Jr. 
  • Warner McGowin
  • Michael Murphree
  • *Charles Robinson (Past President)
  • **Knight Crocker Sauls (President)

"While New Year’s Eve may be over, you still have all of 2024 to make your health a priority."

--Dany Hollingsworth