Colon Cancer Survivor Kendall Bello: Early Detection is a Must

Guest speaker Kendall Bello with her husband Patrick, at the JAACF org annual dinner.

Guest speaker Kendall Bello with her husband Patrick, at the JAACF org annual dinner. Photo by Jacqueline Agentis

Colon Cancer Survivor Kendall Bello of Bucks County gestures triumph and thankfulness after her speech.

Colon Cancer Survivor Kendall Bello of Bucks County gestures triumph and thankfulness after her speech. Photo by Jacqueline Agentis

BETHLEHEM, PA (APRIL 11, 2017) – A Global Dinner Gala, to benefit the Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation, brought 125 guests out to a lively evening of entertainment, international cuisine and auction items at Blue Event Center, on March 16.

The gala helped raised funds for early cancer detection education, and hospice meals.  Ashely Russo of ASR Media and The Peak TV served as emcee.

 Featured guest speaker was Kendall Bello, a resident of Yardley, PA in Bucks County. Kendall is a mother, wife, daughter, avid equestrian, friend, and recent colon cancer survivor.

Her poignant speech earned a standing ovation. Here, is what she told the guests about why she believes early detection cancer testing is paramount.

“I’m here to tell you why early detection is so important. I’m living proof that waiting until the recommended time for a colonoscopy, which is fifty years of age, may for some people, be too late.

Personally, I saw no need to have testing before age fifty since there was no prior history of colon cancer, or any cancer at all in my family history.

On June 7th, 2015, I was experiencing a bowel obstruction causing me to visit St. Mary’s Medical Center emergency room. At that time, I was sent home with instructions to follow hoping it would resolve the problem, unfortunately it did not. I went back to the emergency room the following evening, and again I was sent home with more instructions to follow. To no avail. Nothing was resolving the issue. That evening I received a phone call from a doctor at St. Mary’s whom I had never met or had seen in the ER. She said that she had come across my chart and that I needed to come back to the hospital ASAP.

Upon arrival they began a series of testing. One of which was a CAT scan, which came back showing no obvious cause.  The next test was a colonoscopy which identified a cancerous tumor. The doctors explained the situation to my husband and me, which unfortunately I did not fully comprehend. At this point, I was very weak and a little disoriented due to being obstructed for a week. There were various opinions among the doctors on how to proceed.

It was Dr. Goldstein, head of the Colon Rectal department, who decided that I needed emergency surgery. The surgery lasted five and a half hours to remove a cancerous tumor in my colon and insert an ostomy.

Upon awakening, my life as I knew it was drastically changed. Not only fully understanding at this point that it was a cancerous tumor which was stage 2A, but that I would be living with an ostomy for the next seven months. It was a lot to absorb both physically and mentally.  The good news was that the tumor had not broken completely through the colon wall and was not present in any other organs. The tumor was uniquely located, and that is why it was not showing up on any of the scans. Since the surgery was very extensive I was very weak, so my doctors decided it was best to leave the wound open to heal verses going back into surgery again to close it.

So, after two weeks in the hospital, I was sent home with a Wound Vac which is a machine that is attached to the incision to help the wound heal faster. The wound remained open for three months until it finally healed. I had nurses three to four times a week, coming to our home to change the dressing for the next three months.

Simultaneously, I had the decision as to whether or not to undergo chemotherapy. Since there is no conclusive research as far as stage 2a colon cancer goes, it made the decision that much more difficult. Ultimately, I decided to proceed with the chemotherapy for six months, with infusions every other Monday. Going into the chemo, I wasn’t aware of how relentless it was going to be to go through the 2 week cycles. Essentially, I felt sick for the first week and a half after each treatment, then had a couple of good days and went right back into the cycle again.

After six months of that and the initial surgery, somehow I made it through.

Post chemo, in February of 2016 I had surgery to reconnect the colon which also meant removing the ostomy which meant I was beyond thrilled. However, I didn’t realize what a tough recovery that would be. It took my colon quite a while to “wake up” as they say, and then came the long haul of figuring out what I could and could not eat to avoid the major pain that it sometimes caused.

I then was diagnosed with post surgical hernias in the fall of 2016. I had the hernia surgery this past January 30th 2017. The recovery was about six weeks which leads me to today.  I am cancer-free and have been given the green light to be able to ride my horse and get back into training and competing.

I also would like to mention a very important aspect to all of this as well. This disease not only effects the person that is diagnosed, but effects the family members in a very traumatic way. To see how difficult it was for all of them broke my heart. My husband, mother and father were there with me through this entire ordeal which I could not have done without them.  To watch my 10-year-old son watch his mother go through this is something that I hope no one has to experience. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a colonoscopy by 50, however I’m an advocate for getting one in your 40’s if possible based on my on experience. I was very happy to see a couple weeks ago that The Washington Post reported about a study that was published February 28th in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which indicates colorectal cancer rates are rising sharply among Gen X and millennials. One conclusion in that study is that colonoscopy guidelines need to be re-examined based on the increase in incidents in people under fifty.

I want to thank my medical team at St. Mary’s Hospital, and Dr. Richard Goldstein head of the colon rectal department, Dr. Dan Lebovic my oncologist, and everyone in-between who helped save my life.

I also want to give a big thanks to Tina and Bob Agents for running such a wonderful foundation and hosting an amazing event. Bringing attention to how important early detection is in saving lives and providing meals and support to the families with loved ones going through treatment and fighting this terrible disease could not be a more noble cause.

As a final point, my experience has taught me a great deal about myself. One’s natural inclination is to ask God why he is putting us through trials and tribulations. And I did ask that at times, but in the end, I choose not to focus on that, I choose to thank God:

  • For blessing me with a tumor that obstructed which led to early detection, resulting in discovering it prior to when the stages would have been more dangerous.
  • For keeping the tumor in my colon and not allowing it to spread into other organs.
  • For allowing the surgeons to be able to remove the entire tumor safely.
  • For allowing my colon tissue to be strong enough for the surgeons to reconnect it.
  • For allowing me to get through the chemotherapy.
  • And finally, for allowing me to stand here before you as a cancer survivor.

I choose to be thankful to God.

Thank you again for listening to my story.” 

The Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation is a Lehigh Valley–based 5013c nonprofit. For more information, email ba.jaacf@gmail.com, visit www.jaacf.org, or call 610-392-5460. Follow on Facebook at JAACF org, or Twitter at @Jaacforg.

Sponsorship Levels for Global Dinner Gala, March 2017

Sponsorship Levels for Global Gala Dinner, March 16, 2017

Sponsorship Levels for Global Gala Dinner, March 16, 2017

The Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation (JAACF) was founded in memory of Judith Agentis, a wife, mother, and grandmother who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on January 10, 2013 shortly after her diagnosis.

Fulfilling the mission of the Foundation, weekly trips are made to St. Luke’s Hospice to comfort grieving families with meals donated in part by generous Lehigh Valley Restaurants. Proceeds to date have ensured nearly 9,000 meals delivered to St. Luke’s Hospice house for those holding vigil.

JAACF also provides cancer detection screenings for un-insured and under-insured individual, especially those with a high risk family history. Stay tuned for more news concerning this mission.

AVAILABLE SPONSORSHIPS for our upcoming fundraising event at Blue Grillhouse located at 4431 Easton Ave., Bethlehem, PA on March 16, 2017.

The Global Gala Dinner is set to be a tour of the senses and will feature a distinct international menu charted by Chef Patrick Barber and a wine tasting.  The evening’s emcee is Ashley Russo, of Emmy winning Peak TV.  A festive mix of music and culture promises to surprise.

Celestial – Event Sponsor ($2,000):

  • Sponsor Banner

  • Preferred seating and table wine

  • Eight (8) tickets

  • Exhibit table

  • Logo at event and on all marketing materials

  • Recognition in all press coverage including professional photos

  • Recognition on JAACF website and social media channels

  • Welcome message at the event by emcee Ashley Russo of Peak TV

Compass – Dinner Sponsor ($1,200):

  • Sponsor Poster

  • Six ( 6) tickets

  • Preferred seating and table wine

  • Logo at event and on all marketing materials

  • Recognition on JAACF website and social media channels

Bearings – Sponsor ($600):

  • Four (4) tickets

  • Logo at event and on all marketing materials

  • Recognition on JAACF website and social media channels

Azimuth – JAACF ($250):

  • Two (2) tickets

  • Recognition on JAACF website and social media channels

Sojourn – Dinner Ticket ($90.00)

Judie’s Table Captain ($500.00):

  • Purchase of 50 Exceptional Dinners for Family Members Holding Vigil at Hospice

  • Named in honor of a loved one

Judie’s Table Pilot ($250.00):

  • Purchase of 25 Exceptional Dinners for Family Members Holding Vigil at Hospice

  • Named in honor of a loved one

For more information or to secure your sponsorship, call Bob Agentis at 610.392.5460, email ba.jaacf@gmail.com, or circle your desired level and return with payment to the address listed below.  JAACF is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization and donations are tax deductible as allowed.

Name: ________________________________________________________________________ Phone:  ______________________________________________

Address:  ____________________________________________________________________ Email:  _______________________________________________

Enclosed is my payment of:  $_______________________ I am unable to attend, please accept my donation of:  $_____________________

 

Global Dinner Gala to Benefit Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation Hospice House Meal Deliveries

International Foods, Music, Fashion and more to benefit Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation

International Foods, Music, Fashion and more to benefit Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation

 

BETHLEHEM, PA (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) The Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation will present a “Global Dinner Gala,” at Blue Event Center, Thursday, March 16, from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.

The evening will feature a menu created exclusively for JAACF by Blue Grillhouse Chef Patrick Barber. Guests will be treated to a tour of cuisine including Asian, Indian, Brazilian, Moroccan, and Portuguese styled grazing stations, specialty beverages, wine tastings, and entertainment from around the globe.

Tickets are $90 per person, and available at ActiveData at

http://bit.ly/2js1RQR. Or, email ba.jaacf@gmail.com for more info.

Guests will be treated to an African drum circle, and international inspired fashion show including Guatemalan inspired contemporary looks. Mediterranean and Euro inspired tunes will be part of the revelry.

Funds raised from the annual benefit will support, and ensure weekly hospice meal deliveries. To date, nearly 9,000 meals have been donated and delivered by JAACF volunteers to help comfort, and nourish family members holding vigil at St. Luke’s Hospice House.

 

Pop Up Happy Hour to Benefit JAACF Early Detection Efforts

 

PopUp Happy Hour at Adagio will feature appetizers from Adagio, and beverage tastings.

PopUp Happy Hour at Adagio will feature appetizers from Adagio, and beverage tastings.

BETHLEHEM, PA (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) – A benefit Pop Up Happy Hour, hosted by the Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation (JAACF), will be held Wednesday, November 16, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Adagio Seafood Restaurant, 530 Pembroke Road, Bethlehem, PA.

Tickets are $10 per person and include Tito’s Vodka and Blue Coat Gin tastings from BreakThru Beverages, cocktails masterfully mixed by County Seat Spirits of Allentown, and wine tastings. Appetizers will be provided by Adagio Seafood.

A Chinese auction will be held to benefit JAACF’s mission to provide early detection screenings for the at risk, and the under-insured.

Tickets will be available at the door, or online at http://go.activecalendar.com/JAACF/event/pop-up-happy-hour-to-benefit-judith-adele-agentis-charitable-foundation/

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and information about early detection and testing will be available.

JAACF provides weekly, nourishing meals to Hospice House. The Lehigh Valley based non-profit has donated more than 8,000 meals to families holding vigil for loved one’s at Hospice House of St. Luke’s, Bethlehem.

For more information about the JAACF, established to provide meals to hospice centers and to provide testing, early detection, awareness and education about Pancreatic and Liver and Colon Cancers, visit www.jaacf.org, on Facebook /JAACF or Twitter @JAACF org.

 

 

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Fabulous Shoe Night to Benefit Judith Adele Agentis Foundation at Edge Restaurant

Save the date, Tuesday, May 17th, 6 to 8 p.m. at Edge Restaurant, to benefit JAACF org.

Save the date, Tuesday, May 17th, 6 to 8 p.m. at Edge Restaurant, to benefit JAACF org.

Special Performance by the Iron Rail Rosie’s and Donation of 100 Pairs of New Designer Shoes from AM Luxe to Lehigh Valley non-profit is also part of the evening.

BETHLEHEM, PA (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) – Sport your most stylish footwear and fashionable attire and network away for a great cause at Fabulous Shoe Night Lehigh Valley, to benefit the Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation (JAACF), Tuesday May 17th, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Edge Restaurant, 74 West Broad Street, Bethlehem, PA.

The evening’s revelry will include drink specials, a bounty of French fusion hors d’oeuvres, auction items and raffles, plus a performance by the Iron Rail Rosie’s, a Lehigh Valley-based dance troupe devoted to the style and nuances of the 1940’s post war era.

The evening will also feature more than 100 pairs of new women’s fashion shoes donated by Ann Marie Supinski, CEO and Founder of AM Luxe, 74 West Broad Street, to the non-profit My Sister’s Closet.

The Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation earned the Heart of Hospice Award from the PA Hospice Network, as well as the Shining Star Award from St. Luke’s Hospital. JAACF supports Hospice Care families with free weekly (more than 6,000 to date) meals donated to Hospice House of St. Luke’s. JAACF also provides funding for education and early detection screenings for pancreatic, colon, cervical, and liver cancers. For more information, visit www.jaacf.org

Tickets are $40 and are available at the door, or online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fabulous-shoe-nightlehigh-valley-to-benefit-the-judith-adele-agents-charitable-foundation-tickets-24241468886

 

Media contact is Tina Bradford at 610-248-3460. Fabulous Shoe Night Lehigh Valley contact is Gina Loring 215-882-2412.

 

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Big Fat Greek Wine Dinner to Benefit Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation

 

Yianni's Signature Duck Confit Baklava will be one of six courses at JAACF Benefit March 10.

Yianni’s Signature Duck Confit Baklava will be one of seven courses at JAACF Benefit March 10.

Benefit Will Feature Seven Courses of Ancient to Contemporary Greek Favorites

Tour the Greek Isles through a culinary, wine and entertainment experience at Yianni’s Taverna, Thursday, March 10, 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., to benefit the Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation (JAACF.org).

“This fundraiser will be a fun night of foods, wine and entertainment highlighting different tastes and regions of the Greek Islands, all for a very good cause,” says Maria Manakos, co-owner of Yianni’s Taverna.
The menu will feature seven courses of Greek specialties:

●  Grilled Blue Point Oysters with Ouzo-Compound Butter

●  Duck Confit Baklava with Imported Greek Sour Cherry Preserves

●  Octopus Fritter with House-Made Smoked Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

●  Barrel­aged Feta and Kalamata Olives Served with House-Made Pita Chips

●  Greek Coffee­rubbed Braised Beef Short Ribs Served with Sautéed Spinach and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

●  Stifado—a rabbit and pearl onion stew—Served over Hilopittes (Greek noodles).

●  Arni Kleftico—lamb slowly roasted in parchment paper—with Feta, Artichoke Hearts, Onions and Kalamata Olives.

The dessert to be featured is Ekmek: shredded phyllo, creamy semolina custard and fresh whipped cream, topped with toasted almonds and honey. Each Greek dish will be paired with an authentic Greek wine.

Vegetarian menus are available upon request.

Entertainment will range from an authentic belly dancer to vocalist Billy Murnin with the band “Not Quite Right” (formerly “Uproar”). The Olympian Greek Dance Troupe from St. Nicholas Byzantine Church will also perform and will be on hand to teach authentic Greek dance steps to those willing to learn. A silent auction of select items will be part of the fun.

The Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation earned the Heart of Hospice Award from the PA Hospice Network, as well as the Shining Star Award from St. Luke’s Hospital. JAACF supports Hospice Care families with free weekly meals donated to Hospice House of St. Luke’s, and also provides funding for education and early detection screenings for pancreatic, colon, cervical, and liver cancers.

Yianni’s Taverna is an authentic Greek restaurant located at 3760 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bethlehem, PA. Price per person for the Big Fat Greek Wine Dinner is $125.00.

Seating is limited. For reservations and ticket information, email BA.Jaacf@gmail.com or call 610-392-5460. Checks may be made payable to “JAACF.org.” Mailing address is JAACF, P.O. Box 22075, Lehigh Valley, PA 18002.

Tickets are available online at http://go.activecalendar.com/JAACF/event/my-big-fat-greek-wine-dinner/
For more information about the Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation, visit www.JAACF.org or connect on Facebook at /JAACF.