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Massey and Hitting Cancer Below the Belt partnership packs a punch for colon cancer

Jun 04, 2021

inflatable display colon

Several times a year, Mindy Conklin packs up a ten-foot inflatable colon and hits the road. She visits schools, health fairs, free clinics and hospitals across Virginia.

Conklin, the founder and executive director of Hitting Cancer Below the Belt (HCB2), connects with individuals during her stops to share why colon cancer outreach is now her life’s work.

“My late husband who passed away due to colon cancer at age 43 wanted to survive so he could help others,” Conklin remembers. “HCB2 is carrying on his wishes, and Massey helps us extend our mission.”

Conklin started HCB2 after Rich Conklin’s death in January 2011. HCB2 has partnered with VCU Massey Cancer Center since 2015.

“It is an honor for Massey Cancer Center to work with one of the only colorectal cancer nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region focusing on reducing the impact colon cancer has on Virginians,” says Debbie Cadet, Ph.D., M.S.W., program manager for community health education and research at Massey.

According to Cadet, HCB2 joins Massey in efforts to break down barriers to access and increase the rate of screenings for colon cancer.

“Together we provide education, early detection and screening services for the uninsured, underinsured and insured community members,” explains Cadet.

HCB2 also focuses on nutrition and supporting patients and survivors with its healing belly baskets. Massey is a sponsor of the annual HCB2 Boxer Brief 5K.

In the last letter Conklin received from her husband Rich, he wrote, “I realize that I can only do so much and that I need to pray and listen to what God has to say. I hope God’s plan allows us the chance to help others. If not together, I know you will.”

Conklin says teaming up with Massey more than allows her to fulfill Rich’s vision.

“Every individual we have worked with through Massey Cancer Center has had the same level of passion to aid in prevention and healing as HCB2’s staff, advisory council and board,” she says. “Massey Cancer Center offers such a multitude of care within communities, and it’s an honor to work alongside this iconic organization.”

Written by: Amy Lacey

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