5 Minute Speaker:
Heidi Rhea with A Rhea of Hope
Our mission is to raise awareness and funds for Cholangiocarcinoma, also called Bile Duct Cancer, a rare and usually fatal cancer. 50% of those diagnosed die in the first year, often within months, weeks, or days, because they are often misdiagnosed. Only 5 -20% survive over 5 years!! This cancer is supposed to be for those 65+, but now many 20, 30, and 40 year-olds with their whole lives ahead of them are dying. As an almost 70 year-old,12 year survivor of this cancer it is hard to understand why I am still alive. So, I decided to do something to help since I could. By 2040, a study shows that Liver/Intrahepatic Bile Duct Cancer, which is what I had, is supposed to be the 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths! And most people have never heard of it. It took me 6 1/2 years to meet anyone with my cancer (at the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Conference) and now I get 2-5 messages a month from people who asked me to contact their loved one or friend with this cancer. I have raised over $20,000 for the Foundation for research with my Oktoberfest events and have donated hundreds to Louisiana Bile Duct patients since 2019 when I started. I know I am making a difference.