Man launches colonoscopy awareness campaign to honor wife

Jerry Vandeveer is paying for 15 billboards of his wife Linda to appear around Fort Wayne between February and July, promoting colonoscopies. She died of colon cancer in September 2016.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A local man is saying he won’t rest until the whole world gets a colonoscopy. Jerry Vandeveer’s wife, Linda, died of colon cancer late last year. You can now see her on billboards in Fort Wayne which encourage people to get colonoscopies.

Jerry calls it the Badge of Courage and Honor Movement. He understands colonoscopies can be nerve-wracking, but he believes it’s each person’s responsibility not only for themselves, but to their families. That’s why he’s pushing people to get the test and earn their “badge.”

Jerry Vandeveer is paying for 15 billboards of his wife Linda to appear around Fort Wayne between February and July, promoting colonoscopies. She died of colon cancer in September 2017.
Jerry Vandeveer is paying for 15 billboards of his wife Linda to appear around Fort Wayne between February and July, promoting colonoscopies. She died of colon cancer in September 2017.

Linda lost her battle with colon cancer in September 2016. Jerry is now honoring a promise he made to her to get the word out in every way possible about the importance of getting a colonoscopy.

“This is a matter of life and death,” he said. “Your choice on getting the colonoscopy means that you can die or live and your family could be without you.”

Jerry is paying for 15 billboards, both traditional and digital, to go up around Fort Wayne from February to July 2017. Currently there is a traditional one on Lima Rd., right off of Coliseum Blvd. Digital versions, which appear within a loop of of other ads, can be seen on Coldwater Rd. across from Glenbrook Square Mall and on Clinton St. across from Northcrest Shopping Center.

“I think she would be overwhelmed, especially if she could see what the response would be,” he said.

Jerry said he’s lost count of the number of calls, visits, emails and Facebook comments the billboards are causing. People are weighing the costs.

“If you have the prep now, that’s nothing compared to what it’s going to be like in the hospital with cancer,” he said.

Linda was extremely upset about her colon cancer, not because she was dying but because she would not have the time to warn others about the silent yet relentless killer. That’s where Jerry comes in.

“The movement is starting and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Jerry said. “We figure that in six months worth of billboards going out there, you keep seeing it in your face, you’re finally going to be thinking about doing it.”

For more information on colonoscopies, visit the the Vandeveer Facebook page Colonoscopy, The Gift of Life.            .