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After 20 years without seeing a doctor, Judy Caswell visited Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center due to unexpected changes in her health. She was 57 years old and had just run a marathon with her son – and beat him by a full minute.

“I can’t be sick,” she recalls thinking at the time, “because you don’t run marathons and beat your kids to the finish line if you’re sick.”

But that’s exactly when she got her diagnosis: She had stage 3 rectal cancer.

“I had a very bad attitude. My first appointment after my diagnosis, and first cancer-related one, was with colorectal surgeon, Dr. Robert Stevens. I promised my husband I would listen. That was it. And there was a good chance I wasn’t going to follow through,” Judy recalls.

She didn’t want to have a doctor lecture her about all the checkups and screenings she’d avoided over the years. She didn’t want to be told she now had to “take it easy.” She also didn’t want to be just a bystander in the process of improving her health.

But that first meeting with Dr. Stevens changed everything.

“He spent such a long time with me explaining rectal cancer, my specifics, where it was, what it meant, the treatments and then what to expect at the different phases,” she recalls. “There was no computer screen in front of him. It was very conversational, and he was very calm. It made me feel very comfortable. I got this sense of confidence and trust.”

Because of the remarkable care she received, Judy is now passionate about giving back to Novant Health in honor of the team of professionals that made it be possible for her to not only be a cancer survivor but also an ultramarathoner.

Read Judy’s full story

If you or a loved one have a similar story of remarkable care at Novant Health, join Judy’s passion and recognize your caregivers through a donation in their honor. You also can help your neighbors in need experience remarkable care by donating to one of our areas of greatest need. Your passion and generosity, like Judy’s, will help save lives and improve the health of the communities we serve.

Join Judy and get involved

Will you join Judy and support our efforts by getting involved and giving back? Together, we can strengthen our community by providing support in the areas that mean the most to you.

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