Gayle Olsen was 50 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. From a colonoscopy, doctors discovered she had a tumor almost completely blocking her colon. She had lived a healthy life, growing up enjoying the clean Alaskan water and air and staying active and fit in her home town of Lake Forest Park. She had no family history of the disease. With humor and grace she fought for three years, but the cancer spread quickly and ultimately took her life in 2005.
Gayle was treated at Puget Sound Cancer Center, Stevens Hospital, Northwest Hospital, University of Washington Medical Center, Swedish Hospital (First Hill), Virginia Mason Hospital. According to her daughter Berit, if asked what was the most important thing that has helped you fight colon cancer, “I’m sure my mom would have said family, friends, faith, and laughter.” As Berit points out, in learning from her mom’s experience, “The most common symptom of colon cancer is no symptoms at all, so EVERYONE should get tested!!!”