Saving lives by increasing awareness of gastrointestinal cancers, supporting organizations working on the cures and offering loving assistance to those dealing with this disease.

December 10, 2007, marked the end of the life of a very courageous, strong and faithful woman, Karen Lynn Franklin. Three years prior, she was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma at the junction of her stomach and esophagus. We discovered quickly that not enough was being done about the type of cancer she was experiencing.

Gastrointestinal cancer is not as prevalent as breast or prostate cancer, but the incidence is on the rise. The biggest problem with gastrointestinal cancer, and the reason the survival rate is so low, is that by the time symptoms are detected and the cancer is discovered, the disease is already at advanced stages.

We sought information online, in the library, from friends and with her doctors. Karen was always ready to learn what was going to be done about her disease. She had a life to live and children to raise, and she wanted to get back to a normal life. What was to become normal life for the next three years was a roller coaster of ups and downs. At times, Karen endured extreme amounts of pain. At other times, we thought she would be the poster child for survivors of this disease.

Karen was always willing to go through any and every type of treatment, despite the additional trauma it caused, courageously trying to beat the disease. She always managed a smile and never let on how much she really agonized, a strength few of us have. Karen never lost hope or forgot that she is a child of God — that her life, for better or worse, was all in His gracious and loving hands.

We did not enter the hospital for Karen to die. We went there for another invasive procedure to help her breath more easily. We are on a new journey now in honor of Karen's dream: raising awareness of Gastrointestinal Cancers, with the hope that a cure may be found so that others may survive and not suffer.