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The beginning of summer marked the commencement speeches at colleges nationwide, where one speech stood out for its reflection on the lives of our loved ones who have battled challenging health issues. It also served as a call to action, urging individuals to prioritize their health.

The speech was given by Katie Couric, who was personally impacted by the diagnoses of a loved one and lost her husband Jay to stage 4 colon cancer at 41, leaving her a widow with two young children. Couric gave her tragic story an inspiring re-telling at this year’s commencement ceremony for the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, where she was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for her many years of work in Journalism.

Her speech served to encourage and celebrate those transitioning out of medical school, as she described the hard-working graduates as individuals who have “chosen a profession that isn’t a career, but a calling.” She further articulated the powerful impact of medical professionals as people that she considers heroes with the capability of both changing and saving lives; something she’s seen first-hand through her experiences with excellent GI providers during her late husband’s difficult journey with cancer.

A large portion of Couric’s speech focused on the importance of screening through colonoscopies and her mission to spread awareness of this preventative step in maintaining your health. The world of medicine is constantly evolving and improving, but the outcome of battling cancer is still just as greatly determined by your own decision to take preventive care into your own hands. Her passion for communicating about the available resources and tools are is a powerful, lifesaving message that all of us at MNGI Digestive Health strive to make accessible to our community. We encourage you to read Katie Couric’s full speech, linked here, and consider the preventive step you can take by scheduling a screening colonoscopy for yourself or your loved ones.