In July 2009, Lindsay Stewart began experiencing a severe pain in her stomach.

“I was in and out of the doctor’s and I couldn’t keep anything down,” said the 28-year-old Ottawa resident. “I lost 40 pounds. I didn’t feel right.”

The doctors found a hole in her colon and she was hospitalized for two weeks. It was several months before she could get a colonoscopy, when doctors found a tumour. In November, she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

“It’s a very unusual thing, definitely,” said Stewart of someone her age being diagnosed with colon cancer. Although she is still in treatment, Stewart is participating in next month’s Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation Underwear Affair, a 5-kilometre walk and 10-km run to raise funds for awareness for cancers below the waist.

“I’ve gotten a lot of generous donations,” said Stewart, “but this is more to raise awareness. I was amazed that (cancer) didn’t even cross the doctors’ minds. I want people to be aware that this can happen to people at any age.”