Dare2Care Health Awareness Program


LEESBURG – More than 50 participants learned about physical changes and symptoms in your body that could be indicative of cancer and should not be ignored and the experiences of a cancer caregiver at Dare2Care’s Cancer awareness program Saturday, April 20, 2024 at Rogers Park in Venetians Gardens in Leesburg, Florida.

Ms. Cheryl G. Conner, a woman dealing with stage 3 endometrial cancer, and Chuck Johnson, 48-years old with stage 4 colon cancer, delivered heartfelt and vivid testimony when they shared their diagnosis and treatment for the disease.

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus.  Most cases occur in women after age 55.  Colon or colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum, which may begin as noncancerous polyps. Colorectal cancer is a growth of cells that forms in the lower end of the digestive tract.

Cheryl Conner, a Conner family member and one of the coordinators for the cancer awareness event, said it took six months to get an appointment with the gynecologists and four months to have a biopsy. “I was told at age 25 to have a hysterectomy,” a surgical removal of the uterus and cervix, said Ms. Conner who’s undergoing chemotherapy for her condition.

Chuck Johnson said he was watching the basketball playoffs when he started having severe stomach pains that lasted until morning. “I went to the emergency ward the same morning. After I underwent various tests, I was told I had stage 4 colon cancer,” said Chuck Johnson.

Another individual, Pat, discussed merkel cell carcinoma, a rare type of skin cancer that usually appears as a flesh-colored or bluish-red nodule, often on your face, head or neck. His condition with cancer started a bump on his knee.  Pat has been cancer free for 32 years.

“We need to pay more attention to our own family and their health matters,” said Mae Hazelton, a cancer caregiver, who was with her sister “when she took her last breath.”

Mae Hazelton, discussed her experience providing care and assistance for her sister who had lung cancer and passed on to glory. “I was there when my sister received chemotherapy in the morning, radiation in the afternoon, and blood transfusions.

Paula Atkinson and Keisha Kaffesberger gave a presentation on a study on Alzheimer’s disease.  They informed participants that 1 in 9 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease. If you are having memory loss, please consider a memory screen.  They are quick and free. Call 352-441-2000 for information.

Theresa Conner, a registered nurse and Dare2Care founder, was very pleased with the interaction between the audience and the panelists and the community turnout at the event.

“Just because you’re diagnosed with cancer it doesn’t mean you’re going to die tomorrow,” revealed Ms. Theresa Conner. “Be practical in your treatment. Always take someone as an advocate with you when you go to the doctor.”

“Listen to your body. Get the tests and treatment done and worry about paying for it later.  There are indigent programs in hospitals to help you pay medical costs”, concluded Ms. Theresa Conner.

The cancer awareness program also included a Bible quiz and a drawing for various gifts provided by the Dare2Care organization, which has been producing health programs for 13 years.