Ocean City Today

Dearings raising funds and colon cancer awareness

By Kara Hallissey | Mar 08, 2018
Photo by: Kara Hallissey In memory of their beloved daughter, Gina Barnes, Linda and Michael Dearing continue to raise awareness and funds during Colon Cancer Awareness Month at Copy Central in Ocean Pines.

(March 9, 2018) During Colon Cancer Awareness Month, Linda and Michael Dearing raise awareness and funds in memory of their daughter, Gina Barnes, in the hopes it will help to save lives.

The owners of Copy Central on Cathell Road in Ocean Pines will collect donations and sell bracelets for Gina’s Comfort Fund at the store in March.

Barnes was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She battled the disease for almost two years before passing in 2014, and her parents are determined to help save other families the pain they’ve had to endure from losing their daughter.

“This is to honor my daughter and help younger women, under the age of 50, who wouldn’t normally go for a colonoscopy,” Linda Dearing said.

Gina’s Comfort Fund was created to alleviate stress and financial barriers for individuals and families. To help, grocery store and gas cards, maid services, wigs and acupuncture treatments, which aid with the side effects of chemotherapy, have been provided to community members diagnosed with colon cancer. In addition, funds have also helped pay for chemotherapy treatments.

In three years, more than $5,000 has been raised and 25 patients have received aid, Dearing said.

Barnes’ mother and brother created Gina’s Comfort Fund in March of 2015 to help with the stress and financial burdens on families after watching the astronomical cost of getting sick.

Barnes and her husband had good jobs and health insurance, but were still struggling to pay for her medical bills, Dearing said.

A colonoscopy can help prevent colorectal cancer and the disease is highly treatable when found early. Those with family history or notice changes in their body are urged to schedule a screening.

“Any abdominal cramping, changes or bleeding in bowel movements can be signs,” Dearing said. “She also had a baby within 18-24 months. Being 50 is the standard baseline to start getting colonoscopies. We are seeing an increase in young women, 30-50 years old, having colon cancer. We are on a mission to make more people aware and hopefully get the American Cancer Society to lower that age.”

When Barnes was ignoring colon cancer signs, she was juggling a husband, three children and a full-time job, Dearing said. She was physically active and officiated lacrosse games.

“There is no family history and all of us were totally floored when she was diagnosed with this,” Dearing said.

Stop by Copy Central in Ocean Pines this month, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to drop off cash in the change jar or checks for Gina’s Comfort Fund. All donations are tax deductible and checks can be mailed to: Copy Central, 11065 Cathell Road Berlin, Maryland 21811.

For more information, call 410-208-0641.

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