Daniel Shockley

Photo by Kevin McCarthy

Photo by Kevin McCarthy

Daniel Shockley was diagnosed with precolorectal cancer and underwent a successful colorectal surgery July 13, 2012, at Tripler Army Medical Center.

During that month, he reached out to various cancer organizations and became involved with Colon Cancer Alliance.

Shockley was diagnosed with a rare gene mutation (considerably less than 1 percent of the population suffers from this condition) that resulted in 100 polyps along his colon, with one being extremely large.

The diagnosis came after his transfer to Tripler, and was confirmed by Susan Donlon, a certified genetic counselor at the hospital.

“I had some consultations, and the surgeon, based on the findings of a DNA test, said that I would need surgery, and the surgery would be the entire removal of the colon, rectum and anus,” Shockley explains.

The condition will affect other parts of his body, and he says it’s already attacking his stomach. “I have pre-cancer in my stomach because of the gene mutation,” he notes, “so I have to go through surveillance every year.”

There is no cure for Shockley’s condition, and the only way to treat it is to remove the infected area.

He describes himself as an advocate for the national Colon Cancer Alliance here on Oahu, and admits it’s a great honor for him.

“They asked if I would represent Hawaii on their behalf, requesting the governor to proclaim March National Colon Cancer Awareness Month in Hawaii,” says Shockley, who retired from the Navy after 22 years of service.

After reaching out to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Shockley received proclamations from all of them in support of the campaign.

“This is my first attempt (at doing something like this), and I’m four for four,” he says.

Shockley works nights and weekends at City Mill, and the company (along with sister company Simply Organized) has partnered with him to provide any employee who gets a colonoscopy a paid day off after the procedure.

“I was honored to hear that,” he says. “I don’t know of any company that has ever done that before.”

CCA heard about the effort and lauded Shockley April 6-13 during its National Volunteer Week.

This is just one example of how Shockley has chosen to use a former setback to do great things in his community.

His goal is to reach out to others in the hope that more people will participate in routine screening and become educated about the condition.