Sarah DeBord

Sarah DeBord was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer at age 34. In the years since, she has turned her diagnosis into a calling, and become an advocate for other young adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer and parents with young families facing cancer. She works as a communications and program manager for the Minneapolis-based Colon Cancer Coalition , volunteers her time with the online patient-led support community COLONTOWN , and blogs about her often adventurous experiences of living with chronic cancer at

Donating My Body After Cancer: My Final Gift to the Science that Saved Me

August 28, 2019

Aside from controlling what happens leading up to my death, I've given a lot of thought and put the wheels in motion for what will happen to me after I die.

Back to School: Talking to Teachers about Your Cancer

August 22, 2019

To tell or not to tell? That is a question I ask myself at the start of every school year. Do I tell my children's teachers I have cancer?

Lessons Learned in My Search for a Metastatic Cancer Clinical Trial

July 11, 2019

The search for a clinical trial would turn out to be my most daunting mission yet as a patient with cancer. Here are five important lessons I've learned throughout my search.

The Deluxe Car Wash of Genomic Testing

July 04, 2019

A quick scroll through the list of clinical trials made it clear I didn't know enough about my tumor and the mutations that made it unique.

With Purpose Comes Peace

May 27, 2019

We have to find light in the darkness of cancer not just for ourselves, but for those that will come after us.

Sorry Princess Leia, but a Clinical Trial is My Only Hope

May 18, 2019

I have two perspectives as I look at clinical trials: as the patient needing one and as an advocate encouraging patients to enroll in them. But how can I encourage someone to do something that I personally find so frustrating?

Food Anxiety: How Cancer Changed the Way I Eat

April 30, 2019

Since being diagnosed with cancer, I can't walk into a grocery story without hearing B.B. King sing "The Thrill is Gone." My relationship with food changed, and I often wonder if we'll ever be able to fall in love again.

Dear Friend Who Thinks They're Helping

April 25, 2019

Another attempt to help by my friends only brought more work and stress to our home.

Financial Toxicity and the Young Adult Patient

April 06, 2019

The expenses of cancer far extend what is covered by insurance, and the damage it can do can forever alter the life of a young adult with cancer.

Being Cut Loose from Oncology

April 02, 2019

As much as patients look forward to the day they can ring the bell or hear they have no evidence of disease, it can also mean they will be sent out on their own to sort through life with the long-term damage of cancer.

Please Stop Calling it Hospice When I'm Very Much Alive

March 15, 2019

One is meant to improve quality of life and the other is meant to care for end-of-life. Yet the two specialties of palliative and hospice care still continue to be confused not only by the patient, but also the provider.

The Colon vs. Colorectal Conundrum

February 28, 2019

Why use one term over the other? It's not about exclusion, but rather inclusion and reaching all at risk for this disease-- which happens to be everyone.

An Ode to the Caregivers

February 18, 2019

In the patient-centric world of oncology, let's not overlook who stands watch and gives without expecting anything in return.

Love in a Time of Cancer

February 13, 2019

Your disease does not make you unworthy, because only the worthy will see past it.

The Subtle Art of Cane Walking for the Highly Inexperienced

February 07, 2019

I've had many outward signs that let the world know I had cancer, so the latest addition to my wardrobe didn't exactly make it much more obvious.

One of These Legs Is Not Like the Other

January 30, 2019

I vaguely knew what lymphedema was, and assumed it was something that only happened to breast cancer patients. But you know what they say about making assumptions.

Until My Last Breath

January 16, 2019

I never fully understood how ingrained my children were in my soul until I had to give serious thought to the end of my own life, and I knew I didn't want to face it without them.

Christmas Eve Pizza

January 11, 2019

As cancer once again robbed me of the chance to make the holiday memories I had hoped for, it took a kid eating frozen pizza on Christmas Eve to remind me what really mattered.

So You Can Know for the Next Time

December 22, 2018

When bad things happen to friends we care about, we often stand in silence because we don't know what to say.

Giving Your Provider the Pink Slip

December 17, 2018

As patients, we need to remember that we may not wear the white coat, but we definitely wear the pants in the doctor-patient relationship

Do Your Family a Favor: The Importance of Health Care Directives

December 07, 2018

Having a health care directive in your medical records is one favor you can do your family, and in some of the most unexpected and unavoidable times, they will be grateful you have it.

Anxiety Is Just for Other People

November 30, 2018

I would tune out or give an unsympathetic nod when I would hear people talk about anxiety because I didn't understand what it really was or how paralyzing it could be. That was until I got cancer.

I'm the Story I Wanted to Find

November 23, 2018

When I was first diagnosed, I searched for the stories that would give me hope in the darkness that surrounded me. Seven years later, I continue to pay it forward by putting my own story out there for the next person who needs it to find.

Advocating in Your Pajamas

November 14, 2018

Being a patient advocate comes in many forms, and not all of them require you to get out of bed to storm the halls of Washington.

Lessons Learned from First Graders

November 09, 2018

My son was visibly proud to show me off to his class that day, and I was secretly proud to send his classmates home to talk about poop at the dinner table.

When You'll Never Ring the Bell

October 25, 2018

Advice for the inoperable facing a lifetime of treatment.

Finding Your Community

October 19, 2018

Choosing to connect with other patients doesn't come without loss, but the benefit of being empowered by others makes you a better patient and more impassioned survivor.

Children Don't Belong Here

October 02, 2018

Fighting cancer is hard, but fighting it when you have to bring your kids along for the ride makes it even harder.

A Helping of Second and Third Opinions

September 26, 2018

Getting a third opinion probably didn't save my life, but it definitely bought me more time.

Cancer and the Single Girl

September 15, 2018

Dating after cancer can be scary, but dating with cancer can be down right daunting.