Family Focus: Survivor spreads awareness of colorectal cancer

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:


A Charlotte man was diagnosed with a cancer that he said men are uncomfortable discussing: colorectal cancer.
Doc Mahaffey loves his Harley, but not just for the thrill of the ride.
“Right after I was diagnosed for the second time with stage 3, my wife bought this for me,” Mahaffey said. “I think, deep down, she really wanted me to have something to look forward to.”
Mahaffey said he now uses the bike as a way to start a conversation about prevention with other men his age.
“When I tell them that my wife bought it for me, they go, ‘What? Your wife bought it for you?’ Then, I kind of go into the whole story that, ‘Hey, she helped me fulfill the bucket list,’” he said.
Mahaffey wants men and women who are around the prime age to get screened – 50 years old – to hear his experience.
The father of two had just turned 50 in the fall of 2010 when he was ordered to get a colonoscopy related to a separate health issue.
Doctors ended up finding a tumor on his colon and removed it.
“Everybody felt like there was a less than 2 percent chance that it would ever come back,” he said.
But the tumor did come back, almost two years later, when he was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer.
Even after going through radiation, chemotherapy and having 2 feet of his colon removed, Mahaffey said he didn’t let it get him down.
“My journey was to take this and make something positive out of it,” he said.
Mahaffey wants to educate other adults nearing 50 on the importance of getting a screening, including his friends who he describes as “tough guys.”      
"If I can show them I'm out there with them, and this is what I've been through. Hopefully I can encourage them to go get checked,” he said.
Mahaffey plans to ride his motorcycle across the United States to spread awareness. He will be highlighted as a survivor when he walks the runway with the American Cancer Society for its annual Cure By Design Fashion Show on March 22 at the Filmore. Click here for more information about the show.