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‘I’ve found a purpose:’ North Carolina man advocates for others with cancer

By John Le

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    CANTON, North Carolina (WLOS) — At Canton’s Rec Park, what seems like a leisurely walk is part of what feels like a marathon journey for JJ Singleton.

His short jaunts help him both physically and mentally, especially with his new role uplifting fellow cancer patients.

‘I’ve found a purpose:’ Canton man advocates for others with cancer

“To stay active, to feel like I’m doing something, and to keep my doctor’s happy. They tell me getting out and being active helps everything from physical to mental,” says Singleton, our News 13 Person of the Week.

Recently, he was chosen to serve a one year term as a Fight CRC Ambassador.

The group includes patients, survivors, caregivers, and family members advocating for better policies, research, and support.

Seven years ago, Singleton was diagnosed with Stage 2 colorectal cancer. In 2016, he learned that was just the beginning of his battle.

“And it spread to my lymph nodes and abdominal wall. So, now, I’m pretty much classified as recurrent Stage 4, terminal, incurable—all those words. I just have cancer,” he told News 13.

He’s received more than 100 chemotherapy treatments over the years. All of the adjectives he mentioned don’t begin to describe his will. Now, he can share his experience with others.

“And then just help people that get diagnosed, navigating a path—and their family members,” he explained. “Because it affects everybody. When I got diagnosed these organizations I did not hear about. And I was pretty much going into it blind.”

Just getting out of the house and being active isn’t easy. Every step away from isolation is a big stride.

“Four walls closing in, and you go inside your own head way too much. And that’s just a rabbit hole that is not a fun place to be,” said Singleton.

He acknowledges that being a Fight CRC Ambassador benefits him as much as it helps others fighting the same battle.

“Before, I thought I had no future. It was just doctor appointments, chemo, and then go home. I still have days like that but now I’ve found a purpose to try to help,” he says.

Singleton is well aware that a sense of purpose can be a powerful thing.

“It just kind of gave me a reason on those hard days to be like, ‘Alright, you can get up today. You might not do much today but tomorrow will be better.’ And that changed my whole outlook,” he said.

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