Together we can make a difference
The Story of Darryn & Cherine DeWalt Co-Founders of Get Checked or Check Out, Health Foundation
A husband and wife super team! Mr. Darryn DeWalt and Mrs. Cherine Hafez-DeWalt have been delivering dreams for more than 30 years, weather it’s through there 501 c(3) Health Foundation “Get Checked or Check Out or their sports marketing-advertising firm “DeWalt Consulting” that has a network of 65 NFL players and has local advertising clients such as New South Parking at the Louis Armstrong International Airport and All State Insurance clients. They have been delivering on the promise to provide unique branding that are both visually dynamic yet exciting to the audience that it demands.
In 2004 Darryn weighed close to 500lbs and chose to have the gastric bypass procedure. He lost over 200lbs in over 3 years; with the weight lost he became more active. Working out became a way of life, being an athlete all his life it was a love that he lost and found again.
Then in late July 2008 Darryn felt a lump in his groin, he thought he had a simple sports hernia. He met with his doctor and he also confirmed it was a hernia, and scheduled the simple surgery. Once the doctors were in they found out that it was not a hernia, but found two cancerous tumors called Liposarcoma (a rare form of cancer, that lives in the fatty tissue of the organs in the body).
Darryn then began radiations treatments with the intent of shrinking the tumors, however after 3 weeks of radiation treatments. He developed an ulcer on his bladder, and the radiation treatments were put to a halt. A surgery date of December 12th, 2008 was set to remove the Liposarcoma tumors (any organ that the Liposarcoma come in contact with, has to be removed). The surgery was scheduled 6 hours, but ended up being 14 hours. The doctors had to remove his large intestine, gallbladder, part of his colon, right kidney and appendix.
During the surgery while attempting to remove the cancer that wrapped itself around the iliac artery his right leg. The iliac artery ruptured and with the massive blood lost, he flat lined. This happened twice during the surgery, before the second time the doctors had decided to remove Darryn’s right leg. The only thing that prevented them from doing this was the second time the iliac artery ruptured.
Because the doctors felt that if they would continue with the surgery they may have done more harm than good. So they closed Darryn up with the remaining tumors in his pelvis and around the iliac artery his right leg.
Darryn has gone through a year and a half of chemotherapy with no success, so Mrs. Hafez-DeWalt armed with a Masters Degree in Marketing from Marquette University dove right into the world of medicine. Trying to find another method of treatment to rid his body of the remaining cancer. She found an experimental drug “CDK4 Inhibitor” that was being used to slow and reduce the growth of breast cancer. Since starting the drug in January 2014 the 3 remaining tumors have been reduced to two tumors. So the “CDK4 Inhibitor has been a success thus far.
Darryn continues to use the CDK4 Inhibitor with the hopes of reducing the final two tumors enough for them to be surgically removed.
During all of this going on in their lives, they set forth to help make their community a healthier place. So the formed a health non-profit “The Choice is Yours! GET CHECKED OR CHECK OUT” – the mission of this 501 c(3) Health Foundation is “To reach men, women and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with community outreach health programs that maintain health prevention messages, tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation”.
The DeWalt agree that some times you have to dangle a carrot in order to get people to do what’s right for themselves and we do it in the way of fun and well planned charity events:
Over the past 4 year Get Checked or Check Out has raised and donated tens of thousand of dollars to the American Cancer Society for breast Cancer Research with their “Football Camp For Her” program . The program teaches women about the game of football and the instructors are members of the New Orleans Saints football team (visit www.footballcampforher.com for details).
This past spring the first annual “Saints Ahoy Charity Fan Cruise” was held it brought together 300 Who Dat Nation fans and Saints players for several fun-filled days on the open seas to Cozumel, Mexico.
“That was an incredible event,” Darryn said. “We raised a lot of money for cancer research, and fans got a chance to visit up close with many Saints players.”
The 4th annual “Saints Ahoy Charity Fan Cruise” is now set for April 6-10, 2017, traveling to Cozumel, Mexico, and Darryn said he expects close to 600 people on that trip. For more information please visit www.saintsfancruise.com.
“Too many bigger national groups use so much of the money for administration cost and it’s not really helping people as much as it should,” Darryn said. “We want to know what is happening with the money we raise and make sure it’s going to the right places, and that’s why we formed our own organization.” He said that from a recent Black & Gold Hoops Challenge they raised enough money that paid for 40 less fortunate men to get prostate exams, who otherwise wouldn’t have had it done.
Yet another new program the group is starting is “Amer-I-can” for Cancer, which is a recycling program for aluminum cans, connected to local schools and businesses that allows them to collect the cans, donate them to cancer research and awareness and the participating schools will receive 20 percent of the money raised back for their own schools programs.
“We want the community to know that Get Check Or Check Out is in their community and is working to help find cures for the health problems we feel in our community,” says Cherine. “There is help out there if you can find the right treatment,” he said. “But for most people, it’s very difficult to know where to turn or what to do. Most people who are told they have cancer have never dealt with it before.”
To assist in that area, one of the programs available through “Get Checked Out” is a patient navigator, who will assist an individual or family through the challenges of treatment or getting resources in their fight.“We understand that for the health care industry, cancer is a business,” Cherine said. “But we see these people up close. They are mothers, dads, kids—they are not a factory line at Ford—so we need to make sure that whatever we are doing as a non-profit is directly helping them. “We’ve been blessed with Darryn’s situation so we are trying to give back to others facing the same situation,” she added.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with “Get Checked Out” or to register for any of their programs please call 504-305-7563.