Erika Kratzer | Age at Diagnosis: 22 | Hometown: West Grove, PA
Erika Kratzer thought her symptoms – fatigue, abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation, and blood in her stool – were due to the stress of being a graduate student. Her doctor suspected that she had parasites or colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease), but instead found a tumor in her colon during a colonoscopy. Erika had stage IV colon cancer that had already spread to her liver. She was not given much hope of survival.
Erika had three surgeries to remove part of her colon and over 60% of her liver. She also underwent two rounds of chemotherapy using an internal pump to deliver the drugs directly to her liver.
Despite the bleak outlook given by her doctors, Erika did not want cancer to rule her life. She returned to graduate school, obtained her master’s degree, and got married.
Through surgery, chemotherapy, and spiritual and emotional healing, Erika has been cancer-free since 2001.
Colondar Cover Model
The Colondar was born thanks to Erika. Because of her inspiring story and brilliant idea for the annual Colondar, she’s graced the cover each year.