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Remembering Jamie Samuelsen during Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 19:40:17-04

(WXYZ) — March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. It's a disease that affects thousands across the country each year.

Last year, longtime Detroit Sports-Talk radio host Jamie Samuelsen passed away following a long battle with the disease. He was just 48-years-old.

Jamie's wife and soulmate - and former WXYZ-TV Anchor and Reporter - Christy McDonald is joining us for the 7 UpFront segment tonight.

You can see the full interview in the video player above.

"I have to tell you that when people say 'how are you doing' the answer can change by the minute," McDonald says. "We lost Jamie, it will be 8 months next week and sometimes it feels like just a moment, and sometimes it feels like a lifetime. Here at home, we're surrounded by everything that he knew and loved."

"We're going okay. We're taking it day by day," she continues. "I know a lot of people watching right now have gone through grief during COVID. We've all lost things in certain ways, so we all understand that day-by-day attitude and, so today, we're doing pretty good."

"We spent a lot of time the 19 months Jamie was fighting advanced colon cancer and we talked about when you get to remission, and that was always the hope and always the prayer. what do you want to tell people, what do you want to do, how do you want to solve this or help people out, and the thing that Jamie would say over and over again, people just need to be aware that this can happen, that the need to be aware and go in and get tested," she says.

"Jamie was young," McDonald says. "He was 47-years-old when he was diagnosed, so under that age of 50 thresholds that we all hear about when we talk about getting out colonoscopies, but the American Cancer Society came out three years ago and said you need to start getting screened, we're advising age 45. So, if you're 40-years-old, start talking to your doctor. Have those conversations and say what's our strategy and how old should I be before I get screened. Talk to some of your family members and understand what your family history is. Sometimes people have a family history of colon cancer. Jamie did not. So, he happened to be one of these early-onset colon cancer cases that are actually on the rise, and usually, if it's before the age of 50, by the time they get it, it's already advanced. And, so the drumbeat, what Jamie would say if he were here and still fighting cancer, would say get screened, get your colonoscopy, don't be afraid, it is a diagnostic tool, it is a test that we can see what's going on in your body and knowledge is power. And, so, if we can do a little something, do it for your family."

"Let's face it, everybody's a little squeamish when you talk about colonoscopy, and we talk about our bowels, or we talk about anything that might be wrong down there, and sometimes we're hesitant to say something, but people are saying 'I'm hearing the message'," she says. "I am getting messages on social media. I am getting letters. I am getting texts from friends saying look, here's my doctor's order, I'm going in to get my colonoscopy tomorrow. I have heard from people who have had cancerous polyps removed and I have actually heard from one family whose husband went in for a colonoscopy because of Jamie and they found cancer and he is undergoing cancer treatment right now. And my thoughts and my prayers and my heart goes out to them, because cancer is a terrible battle, whether it's colon cancer or any other kind of cancer and there are millions of us around there, families, patients, caregivers. So the important thing is to say I can take a look at this, I can get this done, and I need to do it for myself, I need to do it for my family because you want to be here a long time. And if you get that colonoscopy, you find something early it's much more treatable than if you find something in a late stage."

You can find out more about Colorectal Cancer here: https://www.ccalliance.org/about/awareness-month