Opp teen gets March proclamation in dad’s honor

Published 12:16 am Thursday, February 27, 2014

March has been proclaimed Colon Cancer Awareness Month in Alabama, thanks to Opp seventh grader Merrill Ann Culverhouse.

“My dad was diagnosed last year with colon cancer, and it was very traumatic,” Merrill Ann said. “I thought I could do something.

“I sent a story (to the proclamation office) about my dad and what he went through, and asked Gov. Bentley to sign a proclamation. So, March is going to be Colon Cancer Awareness Month.”


Nationally, March also is recognized as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Merrill Ann said she believes there needs to be greater awareness of the risks and symptoms of the disease.

“The recommended screening age was 50,” she said. “My dad was 43 when he found out he had it. I wanted to tell people it can be earlier than 50. There needs to be earlier screening. They need to understand it is important to live a healthy lifestyle, understand facts, and know it can happen to younger people.

“Like getting a colonoscopy,” she said. “My dad said from now on, he’s getting one every year to make sure that it does not come back.”

Merrill Culverhouse was one of the lucky ones. His cancer was surgically removed and he didn’t have to take treatments, his daughter said.

Merrill Ann, who was accompanied in Montgomery by both her dad and her mom, Susan Culverhouse, said Gov. Bentley was funny.

“My dad was him telling about me raising $10,000 for Tuscaloosa, which is Gov. Bentley’s hometown,” Merrill Ann said. “He said, ‘You’re doing good, kid, you’re doing good.’

“Another kid was there for a different proclamation. He was the Mardi Gras king at his school, and he brought the governor a king cake. He said, ‘Can I eat this, really? Can I eat it now.’ He has a really good sense of humor.”

The Culverhouse family wore blue to Montgomery, as it is the color of colon cancer awareness. Coincidentally, the governor’s tie also was blue, Merrill Ann said.