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Patient Story: Jordan

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“Hope is all you need. Never give up Hope.” Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jordan Gardiner, who was diagnosed with early age onset colorectal cancer (EAO CRC). He shared a little bit about himself and his diagnosis and treatment experiences. We hope that sharing Jordan’s story can continue to raise awareness about EAO CRC and the importance of taking your symptoms seriously, even if you are under age 50!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Jordan Gardiner. I will be turning 31 this summer. I live in a small city in Northern Ontario with my wife, my two dogs and bunny. I was a paramedic in our city – a lifelong dream of mine. I have always been an avid volleyball player and played College Volleyball for 5 years. I also live with Cystic Fibrosis. When I was diagnosed, we adopted my White German Shepherd – Hope. I love travelling and take yearly trips to Disney with my wife for the last 8 years.

At what age did you get diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer? Were you aware of Early Age Onset of Colorectal Cancer prior to your diagnosis?

I was diagnosed a month after my 28th birthday, which also happened to be 5 days before my wedding. I was not aware of any thing related to colon cancer, other than my great uncle had just survived it.

What symptoms did you experience? How long did it take to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer after you first sought medical attention for your symptoms?

I had mainly digestive issues and blood in my stool. I had lost my appetite and was losing weight quickly. Since I am also living with Cystic Fibrosis, a lot of these symptoms can relate to CF as well. I was diagnosed a few days after I was admitted to St.Mike’s in Toronto into the CF floor.

How was your treatment experience?

I have had wonderful doctors and nurses. My treatment started off well and I didn’t have too many side effects. I am almost three years in and it is definitely getting harder.

Were there any gaps in information during your Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment? If you could change one thing to better improve your and other’s treatment, what would it be?

There isn’t much I would change, but I do feel it would be beneficial to have the connection with Colorectal Cancer Canada right away for the support and information they offer. I also do wish the clinical trials were easier to understand and get into.

Did COVID – 19 impact your access to Cancer treatment and care? If yes, how?

One my biopsies was delayed weeks and a months, which affected my chemo schedule and allowed more tumours to develop in my lungs.

What message would you like to give to aware the public about Early Age Onset of Colorectal Cancer?

I think that it is very important for people to be aware of some of the symptoms of colon cancer, and to not think it is only and older persons type of cancer. Cancer doesn’t discriminate against age. It is very important to advocate for your own health, even when people tell you may be wrong. Something that I always live by is “Hope is all you need. Never give up Hope.”

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