Vanessa Lopez was 27 years old when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer. “I just had a gut feeling that something was wrong with me”, says Lopez. After 12 grueling hours in the E.R., Vanessa was finally given her diagnosis.
According to the Colon Cancer Coalition, 20 percent of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer fall between the ages of 20 and 54. Vanessa had to undergo six rounds of chemotherapy, along with a low anterior resection procedure, or LAR, where they implanted a port to help with her last sessions of chemo.
“I am thankful for blood donors because I know there is a hero out there who has truly helped me during my lowest point in life. I had several complications following my ileostomy surgery that caused me to be admitted (to the hospital) for 25 days.”
While in the hospital, Vanessa received a blood transfusion for which she is forever grateful. However, she is no stranger to blood transfusions, as she also suffers from a blood disorder called hereditary spherocytosis. “Due to this disorder, I have received many blood transfusions throughout my life,” Vanessa explained.
Due to the number of blood transfusions she has had to undergo throughout her life, Vanessa is aware of the impact blood donations have on families firsthand.
Today, Vanessa is living her best life with her husband David, along with their three children, Mckarah (13), Anthony (9) and Arianna (4). She regularly encourages family and friends to donate blood because of the critical impact it can have on other Central Valley families. Every donation saves at least three lives.
“We are truly blessed to have amazing people like you to donate,” Vanessa said.
You can follow her courageous journey here.
To be the hero Vanessa and all Valley patients depend on, schedule your next appointment now.