Jovannie Lorenzo, Class of 2012, says that “Blame it on Bergen Leads has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Would you believe it saved my life?”
Two years ago, I met Dave Dubin, a fellow Bergen LEADS graduate. Dave is a two-time colon cancer survivor, and through his organization, AliveandKickn, he works to increase awareness and prevention of colorectal cancer and increase early detection through screening and genetic testing. I had never heard of colon cancer – through Dave’s story, I learned more about the disease.
In late 2011, I began to get very ill - exhausted, in pain with swelling and bleeding. I blamed it on being a stressed-out single mom, but Dave recognized the symptoms and encouraged me to find out what was wrong. I started the process, but dragged my feet until March 29, 2012, when I woke up in severe pain. In true Jovannie Fashion, I sucked it up and kept it moving - I had to speak at Bergen LEADS Fifth Friday and nothing was stopping me! I figured I could just go to the ER after the event if I still felt that bad. I made it to Fifth Friday and spoke about my wonderful experience of being in Bergen LEADS. I met many wonderful people, then I got into my car, went to the doctor and was told I needed tests done immediately.
Three weeks later, on April 20, I went in for the results of my tests after telling my co-workers I’d be right back. It took a while – my diagnosis was colon cancer. After surgery and treatment, I am now 10 months cancer-free!
So, I blame my life on Bergen LEADS!