BOISE - A Boise woman says she's alive today all thanks to a man she never met.
In 2013 Cindy Comstock fell on hard times. She was homeless and was going through a recovery program at the Boise Rescue Mission. Two years later, things were looking up. She started working, found an apartment and even bought a car.
"Just as I was doing that I started to get pain," said Comstock.
After several tests and emergency room visits, doctors told her she had colon cancer. It was a diagnosis that was shocking in itself.
"But when you get the cancer diagnosis and you don't have insurance, and you don't know where you're going to go, it's all the more mind boggling and frustrating."
Without a way to pay for the colonoscopy, which can cost up to $3,000 without insurance, or treatment her future hung in the balance.
"I didn't know what was going to happen to me, I really didn't," Comstock said.
It's that fear that Rudy Pinon has tried to alleviate over the last 17 years, since his friend Brian Olson passed away from colorectal cancer.
"Brian was too young to die, he was 39 years old," Pinon said. "It was tough to see him go through that."
Through donations from the Brian Olson Memorial Golf Tournament, put on to honor his life, St. Luke's is able to cover the costs of a colonoscopy for those that need it the most.
"Particularly in this state where we have a gap, this is a meaningful way that we help to close that gap to some degree by providing charitable funding for it," said Dr. Dan Zuckerman, executive medical director of Mountain States Tumor Institute.
"That's how lives are saved it's one of the most preventable cancers," said Zuckerman. "If you take out a polyp by definition that is a cancer prevented and potentially a life saved."
Lives saved, and years of priceless experiences, it's a gift from Brian.
"Brian was larger than life and I'm really not just saying that," Pinon said.
Over the last nine years 245 people, who otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford it, were screened because of this funding. In 2015, 10 colonoscopy tests showed abnornmalities and two of those were identified to have cancer. So far in 2017, nine people have had polyps removed as a result of a free colonoscopy.
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