Story of Hope From a Colon Cancer Survivor at Relay For Life

Facing an unexpected diagnosis and then the fight for her life, Kim Mitchell said she learned a lot from the colon cancer that threatened to end her days in less than a year's time. She walked the survivor's lap at the Relay For Life at Plant City High.


It's been a year of shock for Kim Mitchell, whose battle against colon cancer started with a Stage 4 diagnosis after a routine hysterectomy.

"It was like somebody just knocked the wind out of me," Mitchell said, at the Plant City Relay For Life on April 20, at Plant City High School. "I had no symptoms, it didn't run in my family. It took awhile to sink in. I didn't think I heard it right."

Second and third opinions backed up the initial diagnosis and at one point Mitchell was told she was likely to have only six to eight months to live.

Her battle against cancer included an intensive, six-month round of chemotherapy — three times a week, every two weeks — and surgery to remove a foot of her colon.

Then, a "miraculous" declaration from her oncologist that Mitchell was cancer-free.

Again her doctor's words "knocked the wind out of me, this time for a different reason, of course," Mitchell said. "My husband said, 'Can you repeat that?' It's not very common, as we learned, talking to other patients, to survive the cancer I had."

Now Mitchell proudly walks the walk of the cancer survivor. At the Plant City Relay For Life, she was joined in that effort with her husband, Tom, her daughter, Olivia, her parents, Shirley and Frank Outen, and members of her "second family" from Plant City Entertainment.

"It's very, very rare for anyone to respond to the chemotherapy like she did," said Mitchell's mother. "I see it came from the support of her friends, her love of family, the grace of God and her determination and her sense of humor."

Mitchell said he "learned so much" in her fight for life in the battle against cancer.

"I learned that every moment is precious, tthat you should live every moment because you don't know when everything is going to be taken away," she said. "Find humor in everything. Don't sweat the small stuff, it's not worth it."

What she looks forward to, Mitchell said, is getting back on the stage with the Plant City Entertainment community theater troupe, for which she and her family have long been associated, on stage and off.

"I'll be back on stage in December, with a one-woman show," Mitchell said.

In the meantime, she and her husband, Tom, marvel at the talents of their 13-year-old daughter, Olivia, who sang her heart out on the stage at the Plant City Relay For Life fundraiser.

"I wish I had her talent when I was her age," Kim Mitchell said. "At her age, I could barely whisper a song and she can belt it out like nobody's business."

As for Olivia Mitchell, the stage fright was manageable.

"I was thinking it's okay if I don't win, I didn't come here to win," she said of the Plant City Relay For Life singing competition. "I came here to sing for Relay and to sing for my mom."

Her song selection: "I Run for Life," by Melissa Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor.

Kay Secord April 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Kim showed such grace, courage, and determination coupled with a fierce positive attitude during her bout with colon cancer. I firmly believe that coupled with the support of family, friends and God gave her the answer she was hoping for...cancer free. BRAVO.
Courtney Kyle April 24, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Kim inspires us all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU.
Contact: Brandon@Patch.com (Editor) April 24, 2012 at 09:06 AM
From the start Kim would say, “Cancer doesn’t know who it’s messing with.” Seriously, you don’t want to take on Kim Mitchell. Throw in the support of her husband, Tom, her daughter, Olivia, and the fight is that much stronger. And don’t even get me started about her mother, Shirley Outen, who tirelessly, with her husband, Frank, stand by their daughter’s side. Throw in the Plant City Entertainment community and friends, and, well, seriously, did cancer even have a chance? Unfortunately, it did, and does for so many others. Every year, then, it is a great joy and privilege to cover the Relay For Life movement. I am forever touched, and changed, and strengthened, by the stories of people going through the consequences of this disease. Time to rid the world of cancer. For good. Thanks to all those who walk and support — with time, resources and encouragement — those who relay.
Donna April 25, 2012 at 10:39 PM
I have been a survivor of colon cancer now for 11 years, everything that was performed on Kim was done to me. I am thankful for this, I am a Lakota Sioux from the Cheyenne River Reservation in Eagle Butte, SD where rates are high for cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. It can be tough, but we are survivor's.
Kay Secord April 26, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Thank you so much for your inspiring message, Donna. To know someone who was in Kim's place and has now been cancer free for 11 years is beyond wonderful to hear. Congratulations on your success story and for your response. Please know you have all of our well wishes for your future...cancer free.
Kristi May 04, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Kim that is wonderful!! I do have a question for you; my father was diagnosed with IV colon cancer a two years ago. He has had the sugery, radioemblization, and several rounds of chemo, with all the different kinds for colon cancer and nothning is working! I was wondering what chemo did you use? His oncologist is stumped as well.


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