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    Posted June 12, 2014 by
    Asheville, North Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Living with a chronic illness

    23 Year Old Fighting Stage 4 Colon Cancer

    Derek Maner is 23 years old and was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. He is not only my best friend, he is my husband and soul mate. We met roughly 2 years ago at Outback Steakhouse in Salisbury, NC. I quickly realized this man was special and not long after we started dating. We became very serious and decided to move to Asheville, NC together to start a home and eventually a family. We transferred to the Outback Steakhouse in Asheville, NC were we are both currently employed. A few weeks ago Derek started to experience great abdominal pain. He shrugged it off like most men do until became unbearable. He went to the emergency room where they did many scans and tests and concluded that he had inflammation of the sigmoid and that he would need to see a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy as soon as possible. They also scheduled him for an ultra sound the following week. The local gastro doctor was able to schedule him for a colonoscopy that following week. On May 21st Derek had his colonoscopy. I remember sitting in the waiting room texting my best friend and holding a card to give him when he was through. His dad came out and told me the news. I just couldn't believe it. At this point I became very afraid of what this all meant. Colon cancer? But he is 23!! Healthy never smoked, drank, or used drugs. How could this happen to him? Then came the infamous why? These are both questions Derek and I will never have answered. We have since moved forward. Our hopes and heads are held high as we fight this fight together. I knew immediately that I wanted this man to be my husband and for us to fight this fight together as husband and wife. He felt the same way. After telling our families of our plans they helped more than imaginable to plan our dream wedding in less than 2 weeks. On June 7th, 2014 I married my soul mate, Derek Maner! I am so proud to call this man my husband. We have the ultimate love story and I just want to tell the world about it! We will be fighting the fight for his life together with the love and support of our family, friends, and even strangers. Derek will be receiving his treatments (chemotherapy and radiation) and eventual surgery at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. His oncologist there is just as shocked to see someone his age enter his department as a patient. He compared someone Derek's age getting colon cancer to that of being struck by lightening. Well, Derek just got struck by lightening... hard. Nonetheless, Derek is a fighter and if anyone can beat this it is him! We have had so much support from everyone around us including people we do not know. We have a benefit planned for June 28th at the Rowan County Fairgrounds in Salisbury, NC! There are also news articles in two local newspapers, a gofundme page, and a facekbook page dedicated to supporting Derek with his fight to beat colon cancer. Please join the fight to help Derek Maner fight and beat Colon Cancer! I want to have 50+ more years with my husband and soulmate!!!
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