DFW Schweitzer Fellow Chloe Rogers works to raise awareness of colorectal cancer in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas through her project “Make Your Bottom a Top Priority”
“It is no doubt that our greatest passions arise from the most impactful experiences and moments from our lives, and this is exactly how my passion for colorectal cancer came to be. I chose to address this health issue because my father was diagnosed with the disease, which ultimately claimed his life several years later. As a health professional, I understand the importance of education and
awareness for disease prevention; therefore, I saw the Schweitzer Fellowship as an opportunity to help others not only understand the disease, but also be a champion to fight against it.” ―Chloe Rogers, 2016-2017 DFW Schweitzer Fellow.
Rogers, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Studies with a focus in Higher Education at Texas Woman’s University, has developed an education, awareness, and prevention program for colorectal cancer called Make Your Bottom a Top Priority, based out of the Oak Cliff Family YMCA located in south Dallas. Working at the YMCA through their SilverSneakers program, Rogers is providing information about colorectal cancer prevention, signs, and screening options, while also helping program participants become advocates for colorectal cancer.
Her program includes more than just workshops, however. Rogers has worked to also include interactive activities like exercise, as well as individual meetings to help program participants make changes to their exercise and eating habits.
In addition to her work at the YMCA, Rogers is bringing her message to the wider DFW community, with plans to attend the Undie Run, a local 5k geared to raise awareness about colorectal cancer. Chloe is also attending community health fairs with information about colorectal cancer prevention and screening to bring her message to a wider audience.
“When we know better, we have the option to do better. Awareness is important because it is the avenue that gives us the tools needed to choose healthy options. Once we are knowledgeable of the options, then we are more equipped to take the actions needed to reach the ‘better’ in our lives,” Rogers explained.
The first of her sessions began in September and gave Rogers the opportunity to get to know her community on a deeper level. She found that while many of the program’s participants had been screened for colorectal cancer, they still had questions about the value of screening and its processes, as well as other critical information about the disease.
“I’ve learned the importance of asking questions and leaving no room for assumptions. Though the workshop participants had a lot of questions, it was very encouraging because it allowed me to see that the work I am doing is much needed and will make an impact. As a champion for this health issue, I have been able to spread awareness about colorectal cancer and help others who are also passionate about it to join in on the cause,” Rogers explained.
For Rogers, the hope is that her project will not just help those who have participated learn more about colorectal cancer and how to prevent it, but also to help the participants become advocates for their own health and for prevention of colorectal cancer in the community at large.
“It is one thing to have knowledge about an issue, but what good is dormant knowledge? The fact is that I want the participants to take value and ownership in what they are learning from me and teaching each other. In doing so, they become vested in the interest of colorectal cancer and see it as something so important that they want to be advocates for the cause and for others. To me, this how community advocates are developed and sustainable changes are made,” she elaborated.
At the heart of Rogers’ work and life is a desire to use her talents to serve others: “Imagine possessing all the tools to make a difference, but never putting them to use. Imagine having ample amounts of opportunities, but never taking chances. For me, these imaginations will not become my reality; therefore I have decided to use the tools I possess and take advantage of the opportunities I am granted for the betterment of others. My reality does not involve selfishness, but rather selflessness with aims to make a difference and impact all those with whom I interact.”