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Courage 2.0

Colin Messick's Terminate the Tumor campaign counters doom and gloom.

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When life delivers a roundhouse blow, you can either lie down or keep fighting.
One look at the upbeat and educational blog of Richmonder Colin Messick — it's called Terminate the Tumor — and you can see a man who's chosen the good fight. Colin writes about his brain cancer; you can find it at http://terminatethetumor.com.

Messick, 24, works for the nonprofit Caring Voice Coalition in Mechanicsville, dedicated to helping people through chronic disease, though many know him as a former Starbucks manager from Willow Lawn. He began experiencing numbness on one side of his body last July, and after a series of tests, was diagnosed with the worst level of brain cancer. He now receives treatment at Henrico Doctors' Hospital and the Virginia Cancer Center. Messick's girlfriend of three years, Christine Haines, canceled her plans to move to New York so she could stay with him and fight. His brother, Eric, quit his job and moved to Richmond.

When he started researching his disease, Messick says he was displeased at all the “doom and gloom” Web sites, many of which were out of date. So he and his brother decided to make their own and fill it with his daily routines, from dietary changes to medical treatments and their impacts, sprinkled with a healthy dose of humor. One entry is called Why Colin is Worth Saving. He's also started a Facebook page with the same name.

“Our biggest mission was having a place someone can go and get the details in a general language people can relate to,” Messick says. “It's a way for me to vent and educate other people going through the same things.”

For now, Colin has endured initial chemo rounds and is trying a new medication called Avastin, which helps stop the cancer cells from making new blood vessels. He's noticed, too, that the illness has changed him as a person — for the better.

“I was a very introverted person, and I've had to be more open and rely on people,” he says. “I've bettered a lot of friendships and learned more about myself and others. People get so stressed and it's all downhill from there. Look at the bright side. … It sucks but you might as well make the best of it.” S

Gallery5 will host a Terminate the Tumor: Save Colin benefit on Sunday, Nov. 15, featuring performances by the Hotdamns, Jonathan Vassar and the Speckled Bird, and In Circles. Show starts at 7 p.m. and door cost will be announced later. Messick is also selling brain cancer awareness bracelets through his blog.

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