OHC Patient’s Son Hikes 5 Months on Pacific Crest Trail to Honor Father and Raise Funds for Colon Cancer Alliance
Jeff Willis was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2014 after his son Zach encouraged him to get a colonoscopy upon turning 50. After surgery to remove a section of his colon, Dr. Edward Crane, a noted Tri-state medical oncologist, and his team of experts at OHC, started Jeff under treatment. Unfortunately, at the end of 2016 a large lesion was found on Jeff’s liver and he was diagnosed as stage 4.
A cancer diagnosis can be emotionally and financially devastating to a family but Jeff’s wife and son Zach used it as an opportunity to learn about the disease and do something meaningful. So, for his dad and others battling cancer, they began raising funds and building awareness of the resources available for families through the Colon Cancer Alliance. Having the involvement of family during treatment is a key component in the recovery and survivorship phases of cancer, notes Dr. Crane.
Zach, an avid hiker, and his dad were scheduled to hike the John Muir Trail in an effort to raise awareness and funds. Unfortunately, Jeff couldn’t physically hike, so his son formulated the idea for Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for a Purpose, expanding the hike. On Sept. 21, Zack finished his five-month journey at Manning Park in British Columbia, Canada, where his father, mother, and 95-year old grandmother met him at the trailhead to commemorate both Jeff and Zach’s journeys.
“Jeff and Zach have been on journeys that have had their highs and lows, but they’ve stayed steadfast, persevered, and both believe that it’s made them stronger, better people,” said Mrs. Wills. “They have been an inspiration to each other and I’m so proud of both of them.”
To date, Zach has raised more than $3,800 of his $5,000 goal for the Colon Cancer Alliance. Zach and his mom credit the Colon Cancer Alliance and Chris4Life for helping provide valuable information about the disease, treatment, diet, clinical studies, research (etc.) that allowed them to quickly learn about colon cancer.
You can read more about Zach’s hike for colon cancer here: