MARCH 23, 2015 10:53 AM

For seven months, Tori Riley of O’Fallon had excruciating abdominal pains that her doctors attributed to acid reflux, because she was just 24 years old.

It wasn’t until her mother, Lisa Medders, 49, of O’Fallon, demanded that Tori get an ultrasound that the cancer was discovered. The ultrasound found eight tumors in her liver, which were a result of cancer in her colon.

Tori was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and given four to six months to live. “It was very shocking when she was diagnosed,” Medders said.

Tori fought hard and long, but ultimately died in August 2014 at the age of 26.

As a result of Tori’s death, her mother is determined to raise colon cancer awareness and has created the Team Tori Foundation.

“After I lost her, I decided I had to do something to help other people so I set up the foundation to bring awareness, education and tangible help for other colon cancer patients,” Medders said. “Tori had no help outside of donations and family.”

The foundation hasn’t helped any colon cancer patients yet, but Medders hopes that will change soon as the foundation receives more donations.

Medders also wants to educate youths about colon cancer and work to change the medical view that 50 is the screening age.

“We have to talk about it. We have to talk about our butts,” Medders said. “Parents need to talk about it with their young adults.”

She hopes to make Tori’s legacy bigger than her death.

“She was bigger than life,” Medders said. “She was an example of someone who lived their life to the fullest. She was a beautiful person inside and out.”

Long battle

Tori opted to not have surgery, at the recommendation of her oncologist, her mother said, and Tori started chemotherapy immediately.

After several cycles of chemotherapy, Medders took Tori to an alternative treatment center in Georgia. “We had amazing results there,” she said.

After that, Medders said, “Tori lived a really good life for a while. She was doing really well.”

After six or seven months, the tumors started to grow again.

The cancer then metastasized to Tori’s bones, and she endured radiation to the bone lesions, because she was determined to fight it, her mother said.

Toward the end, Tori was in a wheelchair because she couldn’t walk. “For her, that was devastating, she was so independent,” Medders said.

Tori died in Medders arms on Aug. 24 surrounded by other family members and friends. “I told her it was OK for her to let go,” Medders said.

Tori stopped breathing and then her heart stopped, Medders recalled through tears. She remembered singing “You Are My Sunshine” to her, which was their song.

“She was a blessing. She was a great girl,” Medders said. “She was so loved by her school and her community...She had so many friends.”

A friend’s perspective

One of Tori’s best friends, Brianna Hayes, 22, of Collinsville, described Tori as “very independent” and “stubborn.

“Everything was her way,” Hayes said. “She did what she wanted and did what was best for her.”

Hayes met Tori at the Paul Mitchell Hair Academy in St. Louis in 2011. “We became a lot closer after she got sick,” Hayes said.

All the way through her treatment, Hayes said Tori stayed true to herself.

“She wanted to have a normal life for as long as she could,” Hayes said. “She hated people knowing she was sick.”

What bothered Tori the most was losing her hair, according to her friend. “Losing that just crushed her,” Hayes said. “Even though, we got her a wig to look exactly like her hair.”

Through Tori’s two year battle with cancer, Tori never complained, her friend said, even when her pain was at a 10.

“She was amazing. I don’t know how she did it,” Hayes said. “She wouldn’t accept it...she fought, fought, fought...she never gave up.”

High school scholarship

In Tori’s memory, the Team Tori Foundation will award a $1,000 scholarship to an O’Fallon High School student who’s life has been impacted by colon cancer.

Tori graduated from OTHS in 2006. She was voted “biggest flirt” in her senior class. “She was so friendly to everyone,” Medders said.

Students applying for the scholarship will need to write an essay about how colon cancer has affected them.

Medders and two other foundation board members will read the essays and select a scholarship winner.

Local expert weighs in

Dr. Susan Laduzinsky, a radiation oncologist at the Cancer Treatment Center in Swansea, said colon cancer is more common in patients older than 50 — which makes up 90 percent of all colon cancer cases.

“It would be very rare,” Laduzinsky said for a young adult like Tori to get diagnosed with colon cancer.

However, she said doctors are seeing “more” cases of colon cancer in patients younger than 50 years old.

The biggest risk factor for younger patients is family history.

“If people have a higher risk factor, they are recommending earlier colonoscopies,” Laduzinsky said.

Someone with a history of colon cancer should get a colonoscopy 10 years prior to when that family developed the colon cancer, she said.

A colonoscopy is the best method to detect colon cancer, according to Laduzinsky. In the “olden days,” she said doctors just looked for blood in the stool or tested the stool for blood.

A method currently being researched involves looking for cancer cells or genes in the stool, Laduzinsky said.

The corrective treatment for colon cancer is surgery followed by chemotherapy, she said.

“In the more advanced stages of colon cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy get involved if the cancer gets lower down in the rectum and anal area,” Laduzinsky explained.

She believes the decrease in the incidents of people over 50 getting colon cancer can be directly attributed to colonoscopies and having polyps found in the colon removed.

“We never discussed colon cancer,” Medders said. “I don’t know if I ever talked to anyone about colon cancer.”
Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article17744273.html#storylink=cpygraph here.

Obituary for Victoria RileyVictoria (Tori) Anne Riley, 26, of O'Fallon, IL, born June 11, 1988 in Cincinnati, OH, passed away on Sunday, August 24, 2014 at her home in O'Fallon, surrounded by her loving family.

Philippians 4:13 is a bible verse often interpreted as meaning that we can accomplish anything we want through Christ who strengthens us. The real meaning is we can accept and handle all things, whether good or bad, through Christ who strengthens us. Tori knew the real meaning. She found her strength in Christ to accept and handle all good and bad that came her way. We all saw that in her even more so when she began her battle against colon cancer over two years ago on July 12, 2012. 

She fought hard, she did not complain, she just did what she had to do and moved on. She knew that the Lord was in control and would see her through. Her faith was evident in her life and she depended on the Lord for her strength and her acceptance that this was a battle in her life that she had to go through. We have all been amazed at her and blessed beyond measure by the example she set in this. She has been an inspiration to many during her life and will continue to be. Those of her closest family and friends have enjoyed her smile, her kindness, her laughter, her compassion, and just simply her. They will all miss the beautiful shining light that she was. Even those that only knew Tori through her fundraising and supporting group, Team Tori, could see the beautiful person she was inside and out. 

Thousands of people rallied around her to help in any way they could with this fight. Through all of this, cancer did not define who she was. Tori was a young and vibrant woman who had many goals in life, one of which included graduating from Paul Mitchell Academy. She loved to bring the beauty out in others. She also had plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice. Tori had a huge giving heart and doing for others was important to her. She also had a way of making those around her feel special and could turn anyone's frown to a smile. 

One of the many wonderful things that we can appreciate about Tori is that she knew her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She was prepared to go home to be with Him when it was time. She left with dignity, lying in her mother's arms and holding her dad's hand, the way she came into this world. 

Victoria was preceded in death by her maternal great-grandparents, David & Berneice West, and her paternal great-grandfather, Angelo Puglisi. 

Tori is survived by her parents, Lisa Medders, and Richard & Michelle Riley; siblings, Angelo Riley, Jessica Castillo, Kendra Turner, Ryan Hebel, and Lorenzo C. Ross; paternal grandparents, Ronald & Catherine Riley; paternal grandfather, Jack Fuche; maternal grandparents, Bill & Lawanda Medders; maternal grandmother, Ann Flowers; maternal grandparents, Wendell & Elizabeth Allen; paternal great-grandmother, Alice Puglisi; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.



GiveForward’s Tech The Halls Campaign Raises Over $152k For 22 Families


Medical fundraising platform GiveForward rallied the Chicago startup scene to raise money for local families struggling with medical expenses around the holidays. The group effort raised $152,367 for 22 families.

Participating companies included Built In Chicago, GoHEalth, MentorMob, and New World Ventures to name a few. “We had 20 + Chicago tech companies choose a fundraiser on GiveForward that really touched their hearts, and they generously matched a portion of all donations through the month of December,” said GiveForward co-founder and COO Ethan Austin.

Discount online stock brokerage company Ditto Trade matched all December donations to the Team Tori Riley fundraiser to benefit 24 year old Victoria Riley. Riley is battling stage 4 metastasized colon cancer. So far, the Team Tori Riley has collected 63% of the $21,400 goal to raise $13,414. The fundraiser ends on January 31, 2013.


Boehringer-Ingelheim helps sponsor Walgreens team for St. Louis colon cancer run

APRIL 5, 2013 | BY JASON OWEN

ST. LOUIS — More than 90 runners signed on to join Team Walgreens/Team Tori last month at the 2013 St. Louis Undy 5000 in support of 24-year old Tori Riley. The team raised more than $1,000 in support, half contributed to the Colon Cancer Alliance and the other half to Team Tori, through T-shirt sales, raffles for Walgreens beauty bags and silent auctions that included St. Louis Cardinals tickets, among other items.

"Last year was the first year that [Team Walgreens/Team Tori] participated in the Undy 5000, so this year we wanted to have a greater impact," commented team captain Stefani Cheseldine, an operations trainer for Walgreens. "We are setting a goal for next year to be the biggest team at the St. Louis Undy 5000."

Two days before the Undy 5000 event, Tori's mother announced her daughter had gotten engaged and continues to be upbeat in her fight against colon cancer. For more information on Team Tori, click here.

Boehringer-Ingelheim helped sponsor Team Walgreens/Team Tori this year. BI is a regular sponsor of Undy 5000 events under its Dulcolax brand.

UNDERCOVER CALIFORNIA

People under 50 also at risk of Colon Cancer Submitted by Sophia Turner on Wed, 03/25/2015 - 18:05
[People Younger than 50 also Face Risk of Colon Cancer]

After experiencing excruciating abdominal pains for seven months, Tori Riley of O'Fallon was told by her mother to get an ultrasound and cancer was then discovered. Doctors initially thought that her pain was related to acid reflux because she was just 24 years old. But after getting the ultrasound done, she learnt that there were eight tumors in her liver. The tumors were a result of cancer in her colon.

Her mother Lisa Medders, 49, said Tori had stage IV colon cancer and had only four to six months to live. Her diagnosis brought extreme unhappiness for her family members. She died in August 2014 at the age of 26 and her death left her mother in shock.

After some time, Tori's mother gathered enough courage to raise colon cancer awareness and has created the Team Tori Foundation. "After I lost her, I decided I had to do something to help other people so I set up the foundation to bring awareness, education and tangible help for other colon cancer patients", said Medders.

Medders said that the foundation will provide significant help to colon cancer patients and will also educate youths about colon cancer. People often believe that the right age to get screened for colon cancer is 50, but Medders said that this perception now needs to be changed.

Dr. Susan Laduzinsky, a radiation oncologist at the Cancer Treatment Center in Swansea, said colon cancer is often diagnosed in people older than 50, but more cases are now emerging in patients younger than 50 years old. According to Laduzinsky, fanily history could be the biggest factor in that. People at the highest risk must go for earlier colonoscopies. A colonoscopy provides the best way to detect colon cancer.aragraph here.

COLON CANCER AWARENESS MONTH, ONLY 26 AND GONE.....

BY TeamTori | Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 03:46 PM

For seven months, Tori Riley of O’Fallon had excruciating abdominal pains that her doctors attributed to acid reflux, because she was just 24 years old.

It wasn’t until her mother, Lisa Medders, 49, of O’Fallon, demanded that Tori get an ultrasound that the cancer was discovered. The ultrasound found eight tumors in her liver, which were a result of cancer in her colon.

Tori was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and given four to six months to live. “It was very shocking when she was diagnosed,” Medders said.

Tori fought hard and long, but ultimately died in August 2014 at the age of 26.

As a result of Tori’s death, her mother is determined to raise colon cancer awareness and has created the Team Tori Foundation.

“After I lost her, I decided I had to do something to help other people so I set up the foundation to bring awareness, education and tangible help for other colon cancer patients,” Medders said. “Tori had no help outside of donations and family.”

The foundation hasn’t helped any colon cancer patients yet, but Medders hopes that will change soon as the foundation receives more donations.

Medders also wants to educate youths about colon cancer and work to change the medical view that 50 is the screening age.

“We have to talk about it. We have to talk about our butts,” Medders said. “Parents need to talk about it with their young adults.”

She hopes to make Tori’s legacy bigger than her death.

“She was bigger than life,” Medders said. “She was an example of someone who lived their life to the fullest. She was a beautiful person inside and out.”

Long battle

Tori opted to not have surgery, at the recommendation of her oncologist, her mother said, and Tori started chemotherapy immediately.

After several cycles of chemotherapy, Medders took Tori to an alternative treatment center in Georgia. “We had amazing results there,” she said.

After that, Medders said, “Tori lived a really good life for a while. She was doing really well.”

After six or seven months, the tumors started to grow again.

The cancer then metastasized to Tori’s bones, and she endured radiation to the bone lesions, because she was determined to fight it, her mother said.

Toward the end, Tori was in a wheelchair because she couldn’t walk. “For her, that was devastating, she was so independent,” Medders said.

Tori died in Medders arms on Aug. 24 surrounded by other family members and friends. “I told her it was OK for her to let go,” Medders said.

Tori stopped breathing and then her heart stopped, Medders recalled through tears. She remembered singing “You Are My Sunshine” to her, which was their song.

“She was a blessing. She was a great girl,” Medders said. “She was so loved by her school and her community...She had so many friends.”

A friend’s perspective

One of Tori’s best friends, Brianna Hayes, 22, of Collinsville, described Tori as “very independent” and “stubborn.

“Everything was her way,” Hayes said. “She did what she wanted and did what was best for her.”

Hayes met Tori at the Paul Mitchell Hair Academy in St. Louis in 2011. “We became a lot closer after she got sick,” Hayes said.

All the way through her treatment, Hayes said Tori stayed true to herself.

“She wanted to have a normal life for as long as she could,” Hayes said. “She hated people knowing she was sick.”

What bothered Tori the most was losing her hair, according to her friend. “Losing that just crushed her,” Hayes said. “Even though, we got her a wig to look exactly like her hair.”

Through Tori’s two year battle with cancer, Tori never complained, her friend said, even when her pain was at a 10.

“She was amazing. I don’t know how she did it,” Hayes said. “She wouldn’t accept it...she fought, fought, fought...she never gave up.”

High school scholarship

In Tori’s memory, the Team Tori Foundation will award a $1,000 scholarship to an O’Fallon High School student who’s life has been impacted by colon cancer.

Tori graduated from OTHS in 2006. She was voted “biggest flirt” in her senior class. “She was so friendly to everyone,” Medders said.

Students applying for the scholarship will need to write an essay about how colon cancer has affected them.

Medders and two other foundation board members will read the essays and select a scholarship winner.

Local expert weighs in

Dr. Susan Laduzinsky, a radiation oncologist at the Cancer Treatment Center in Swansea, said colon cancer is more common in patients older than 50 — which makes up 90 percent of all colon cancer cases.

“It would be very rare,” Laduzinsky said for a young adult like Tori to get diagnosed with colon cancer.

However, she said doctors are seeing “more” cases of colon cancer in patients younger than 50 years old.

The biggest risk factor for younger patients is family history.

“If people have a higher risk factor, they are recommending earlier colonoscopies,” Laduzinsky said.

Someone with a history of colon cancer should get a colonoscopy 10 years prior to when that family developed the colon cancer, she said.

A colonoscopy is the best method to detect colon cancer, according to Laduzinsky. In the “olden days,” she said doctors just looked for blood in the stool or tested the stool for blood.

A method currently being researched involves looking for cancer cells or genes in the stool, Laduzinsky said.

The corrective treatment for colon cancer is surgery followed by chemotherapy, she said.

“In the more advanced stages of colon cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy get involved if the cancer gets lower down in the rectum and anal area,” Laduzinsky explained.

She believes the decrease in the incidents of people over 50 getting colon cancer can be directly attributed to colonoscopies and having polyps found in the colon removed.

“We never discussed colon cancer,” Medders said. “I don’t know if I ever talked to anyone about colon cancer.”

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at jforsythe1@bnd.com or 618-239-2562. Follow her on Twitter:@BND_JForsythe.
Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2015/03/23/3727829/daughters-death-compels-mother.html#storylink=cpy
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