One Utah man’s journey to spread endoscopy awareness

Dec 14, 2021, 6:09 PM | Updated: 6:36 pm
An endoscopy room at the Intermountain Spanish Fork Hospital in Spanish Fork is pictured on Friday ...
An endoscopy room at the Intermountain Spanish Fork Hospital in Spanish Fork is pictured on Friday March 12, 2021. Photo credit: Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Brent Hatch lost his wife and his seven kids lost their mom to stage 4 stomach cancer on Dec. 12, 2019, just two years ago. When Phelecia Hatch was diagnosed, doctors gave her three months to live. Phelecia was losing weight at a quick pace and went in for an endoscopy, that’s when she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. 

“There was really no warning,” Hatch said.

“In talking to a lot of people, come to find out one out of 10 people that I talked to have only heard of endoscopy, most people never heard of it,” he said.

Rather than hiding in sadness, Hatch took it upon himself to start spreading endoscopy awareness. Hatch shared the idea to start a proclamation in Mapleton with the mayor. The mayor recommended sharing the idea with governor’s office. It was a nine-month commitment of work for Hatch to receive the proclamation. 

“It wasn’t easy to get. Getting a declaration from the governor is really, really hard and it goes thru a big process,” Hatch said.

Hatch emailed the mayor’s office with a letter and had to find a sponsor to endorse the movement. The Mapleton mayor supported Hatch and endorsed the bill. 

“The waiting was the hardest part. They only have time to do so many declarations a year,” Hatch said.

He signed that declaration the same day he signed his annual budget.

Spreading Endoscopy Awareness

Hatch said in his research he couldn’t find any declaration for endoscopy or awareness in the United States. 

“My goal is to go nationwide, to promote colonoscopy and endoscopy at the same time,” he said.

Hatch is building a foundation in remembrance of his wife. She loved sunflowers

Hatch said sharing the tragedy of his wife has already help two or three people. After they heard the story, they scheduled endoscopy appointment and doctors found polypus in their stomach. 

“She has already, through her death saved other people’s lives,” Hatch said. “I just keep thinking the more people that hear about it, the better it’s going to be to help stop this 100% preventable disease,” he said.

Hatch is hopeful in the future medical professionals will complete coloscopy and endoscopy at the same time. If this would have been the case for his wife they would have caught it ahead of time and she would still be here.

“When you get a colonoscopy ask to get endoscopy,” Hatch said. 

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One Utah man’s journey to spread endoscopy awareness