Shakin’ Booties to “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)”

We are gearing up for the 14th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge THIS WEEKEND on Randall’s Island, but we couldn’t forget about our memorable, rain-soaked Booty Shake and debut of Mark MK’s single “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)” in Central Park earlier this month! Here are just a few images from the event. More to follow. Keep up with all of our events by following us on Facebook and checking our events page here.

Third Annual EAO-CRC Symposium in Pictures

The Third Annual Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer (EAO-CRC) Symposium took place at NYU Langone Medical Center on Sunday, March 12.  Hundreds of people participated, between event attendance, our livestream (generously facilitated by healtheo360), and our live Twitter feed.  This interactive discussion touched upon the key issues affecting EAO-CRC patients and their families, from living with an ostomy to navigating intimacy and optimizing fertility.  Our stellar line-up of top CRC physicians and nurses presented on up-to-the-minute research and advances in EAO-CRC prevention, treatment and care.  Several passionate survivors shared their stories and spoke on the importance of advocacy and awareness both for medical professionals and the general public.  All in, the EAO-CRC Symposium once again proved to be an invaluable day in the on-going fight against colorectal cancer.  We would like to thank our generous sponsors, Michael’s Mission, Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, healtheo360, and the Colon Cancer Alliance.

#BelfieChallenge – The Next Viral Sensation

Back in January, I took a selfie of my and my kids’ butts, posted it on the Internet, and wrote about it here.  This, combined with some good old fashioned emails and some motivational Facebook posts (OH HI HAVE YOU NOT LIKED OUR PYB FACEBOOK PAGE YET? Please do! And ask ALL your Facebook friends to like it too!), was our soft launch of the Belfie Challenge. And guess what? We have a whopping… seven belfies up on our Protect Your Butt Crowdrise page.

Now it is March.  Colon Cancer Awareness Month.  We have officially kicked off the Protect Your Butt campaign.  We have shaken our booties to the amazing music of Mark MK in Central Park.  Now, in order for the Protect Your Butt campaign to succeed, we need funds, and we need a little viral Internet fairy dust.  The Belfie Challenge will get us there – but we need YOUR help to make it happen.

So let’s keep it simple:

  1. Snap a PG-rated selfie of your butt.  (Or you can have someone take the photo for you, no biggie.)
  2. OPTIONAL: If you want to help us raise money so we can take our PYB campaign to TV and radio, set up a Crowdrise fundraiser here. Every $5 raised counts as one “vote” and the person with the most votes will WIN two round-trip tickets on JetBlue! 
  3. IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO CROWDRISE – Share your belfie on Facebook and copy and paste the following text: Friends, March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and I have accepted the #BelfieChallenge to help promote the #ProtectYourButt campaign! [insert names of FIVE friends here], I challenge you to snap and post a belfie of your own OR donate $5 to vote for mine OR better yet – put yours up on the #ProtectYourButt Crowdrise site (www.crowdrise.com/ProtectYourButt) for your own chance to WIN the Belfie Challenge and two round-trip tickets on JetBlue! Every butt – and vote – counts in the fight against colon cancer. Please challenge five of your friends by copying this text and posting with your belfie, and don’t forget to #ProtectYourButt!
  4. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO CROWDRISE – We will not hold it against you, we promise! Because every belfie that is posted helps us spread the word. So, if you want to skip the Crowdrise step, share your belfie on Facebook and copy and past the following text: Friends, March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and I have accepted the #BelfieChallenge to help promote the #ProtectYourButt campaign! [insert names of FIVE friends here], I challenge you to snap and post a belfie of your own OR better yet – put yours up on the #ProtectYourButt Crowdrise site (www.crowdrise.com/ProtectYourButt) for your own chance to WIN the Belfie Challenge and two round-trip tickets on JetBlue! Every butt – and vote – counts in the fight against colon cancer. Please challenge five of your friends by copying this text and posting with your belfie, and don’t forget to #ProtectYourButt!

Join us in the #BelfieChallenge!

 

Sponsor Spotlight: Michael’s Mission

EAO CRC SYMPOSIUM 2017

Sponsorship support is fundamental to the success of any non-profit foundation, and we are certainly no exception.  As I have said before, we are a small organization, but we are mighty.  We are truly on the front lines of the battle against colorectal cancer.  We are in it, folks.  But we would not be able to make the impact that we do without the other organizations that help keep us going.

We are so grateful to have the generous support of Michael’s Mission for the EAO-CRC Symposium again this year.  This event would simply not be the success that it is on every level without Michael’s Mission, an organization focused on improving the quality of life and treatment options for those suffering from colorectal cancer through education, research and patient support.  Funds raised by Michael’s Mission go to patient care and support and research initiatives led by a medical advisory board comprised of leading physicians.

Martha Raymond is the Executive Director/CEO of Michael’s Mission. For over twenty-five years, Martha has been a passionate and active advocate for colon cancer education, prevention, outreach and awareness. We are fortunate to call her a colleague and a friend. Martha took some time out of her insanely busy schedule preparing for Colon Cancer Awareness Month to chat with us about Michael’s Mission and the EAO-CRC Symposium.

Martha Raymond speaks at the 2016 EAO-CRC Summit

1. How does the Symposium compliment the work of Michael’s Mission and why is it important for your organization to be involved?
The annual EAO-CRC Symposium compliments our work at Michael’s Mission by focusing on the specific and unique needs of the young adult colorectal cancer patient, survivor and caregiver.  Through our patient support and education programs we work with patients, survivors and caregivers throughout the continuum of care, providing resources to help individuals affected by this disease to help improve their quality of life.  Michael’s Mission was founded in memory of Michael Soussa who passed away from colorectal cancer at the young age of 33.  Michael’s goal was to create an organization that focused on improving the lives and treatment outcomes for patients – especially young adults.  Being part of the annual EAO-CRC Symposium is central to our vision and mission.

2. What makes the EAO-CRC Symposium stand out from among other colorectal cancer events?
The EAO-CRC stands out from other colorectal cancer events in many ways.  First and foremost is the prestigious faculty that Dr. Tom Weber assembles from around the United States and Europe.  Since Tom knows and works with all of the thought-leaders in the colorectal cancer community, he is able to develop an agenda that provides participants with prevention through screening messaging, cutting-edge treatment options, and sessions that provide emotional and psycho-social support.  Each year participants gain world class knowledge and education from healthcare professionals who are leading the way in young adult colorectal cancer research and treatment.

3. Can you tell us a couple of highlights from last year’s Symposium?
EAO-CRC 2016 had many highlights for me.  Facilitating the patient/survivor panel and working with individuals such as Katie Rich and Gina Neri was very inspirational.  Gina relayed her story of being pregnant while making the decision to undergo chemotherapy – not knowing what the outcome might be for herself and her baby. I asked Gina to bring her baby up front to be part of the panel – and beautiful, healthy, precious Gianna Hope joined the panel of patients and survivors.  It was an incredible, emotional moment for everyone in attendance.

4. Besides sponsoring the EAO-CRC Symposium, what else is happening at Michael’s Mission during Colon Cancer Awareness Month?
March will be a busy month for all of us in the colon cancer community!  On March 16th Michael’s Mission will celebrate our 8th Annual Gala honoring members of the colon cancer community.  I will be speaking at several events, including Fight CRC’s 11th Annual Call-On-Congress in Washington, DC.  At the 3rd Annual EAO-CRC, I am serving as Course Co-Director and am also looking forward to leading the conversation for the Caregiver Session.

It is not too late to sign up for the enlightening, life-changing EAO-CRC Symposium.  Click here for details.  Many thanks to Martha Raymond and Michael’s Mission for their generous and critical support of this amazing program!

Meet Our United Airlines NYC Half Team (and Board Member!): Christina McClellan

The Colon Cancer Foundation is very fortunate to have a diverse, talented, and committed Board of Directors who support and guide this organization with their experience and expertise.  One of our Board members, Christina McClellan, will be tackling this year’s United Airlines NYC Half Marathon with Team Colon Cancer Challenge.

Christina McClellan

Christina is the Business Manager for the Physician-in-Chief’s Office at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  After her mother passed away from colon cancer in 2009, she bridged her professional background in finance with her passion for oncology care at MSKCC and has gained extensive experience in both clinical research and hospital administration.  Christina is currently working towards her MBA at NYU.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park and currently lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband.

What is your connection to colorectal cancer? 
After a three year battle with the disease, my mother passed away at 59 of colon cancer.

How long have you been a board member and why did you decide to make this commitment? 
I have had the pleasure of being a board member since 2010.  I decided to join the board because if I could help one family, one daughter, not have to go through the pain of losing a family member, I needed to do it.  Colon Cancer is a preventable disease, and I wanted to on the frontlines to help people realize this in order to make a difference!

What makes CCCF stand apart from other colon cancer organizations?  
CCCF is not only dedicated to eliminating colon cancer, but they are focused on raising awareness in the younger demographics, which is so important with this particular disease.  The CCCF was one of the first foundations to recognize the importance of educating young people and has created events over the last few years to attract this group of supporters.  The earlier we can make people aware of how to prevent the disease, the higher likelihood we will have for raising survival rates.  It is also important that we let young men and women know that they are not alone on this journey as they face colon cancer, either as a patient or caregiver.

Are you running in honor of a loved one?
I will be running in memory of my mother, Linda Puglisi.

What are you most looking forward to in conquering the NYC Half?
I am extremely excited to run through Times Square- something that ordinarily could never be done!  I have run quite a few half marathons before but the ones I have done as a charity runner are most important.  Every time I get tired or achy, I remember my mom, and the other cancer warriors who have gone through much worse and there is a little piece of me that feels closer to my mom.

To learn more about the United Airlines NYC Half and to support Christina, click here.

We Came, We Saw, We Shaked It!

First and foremost: the amazing Mark MK‘s single, “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)” is NOW AVAILABLE for download on iTunes, Amazon, Tidal, you name it! A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Colon Cancer Foundation. So if you missed Mark’s incredible performance in Central Park today, or if you were there and want to listen to this catchy song on repeat like my kids and I did tonight, download it on your favorite service now. Like, right now.

So. Today is March 1. The start of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. And we happen to have an event lineup that is our most exciting ever, thanks to our Protect Your Butt campaign. To kick things off (and kick colon cancer in the butt), today we hosted The World’s Largest Booty Shake – featuring Mark MK – in Central Park. Mother Nature decided to toy with us and throw a torrential downpour our way, but our devoted crowd braved the rain, which turned to drizzle, which then cleared up. And by the time Mark MK finished his set, the sun was out. A sign of a ground-breaking, cloud-clearing, life-changing month ahead!

We are so grateful to have had amazing sponsors for the Booty Shake: our presenting sponsor, Mount Sinai Hospital; Bracco Diagnostics; and Epigenomics and the Epi proColon. This event would not have gotten off the ground without their support, and would not have been the hit that it was without their dance skills (we’re looking at you, David Greenwald). Thank you to all the volunteers who came out to support us today!

And a huge, epic thank you to Mark ‘MK’ McLaughlin and DJ Theo, their incredible band, production team, and indefatigable dancers! The amount of effort that all of these people are putting into this cause is just beyond what we ever could have imagined.

My dinky iPhone photos do not do this event justice, but I couldn’t help but share a few of my favorites from the day. Official photo gallery coming soon!

Warming up…

The shirt says it all.

Mark MK rocking the Central Park bandshell

 

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2017 Colon Cancer Challenge Kickoff!

Before you feast your eyes on the photos from our fantastic Colon Cancer Challenge Kickoff event – which featured Mark MK‘s awesome debut performance of “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)” – a friendly reminder that TOMORROW, MARCH 1 IS THE WORLD’S LARGEST BOOTY SHAKE! Central Park. Noon. Be there. It will be an event for the ages and we are going to make a huge splash (perhaps literally) in the fight against colon cancer. There is NO better way to kick off Colon Cancer Awareness Month than by shaking your butt in a Guinness Record-setting crowd while enjoying the incredible music of Mark MK. So please join us and bring your family, colleagues, and friends!

And now back to our regularly scheduled post. Our Colon Cancer Challenge Kickoff event took place on February 16 at the beautiful offices of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP on Fifth Avenue. The event featured an awards ceremony; inspiring talks from our own Dr. Thomas Weber and other colon cancer advocates; a colorful presentation on the Protect Your Butt campaign; and, for the grand finale, Mark MK singing “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)”. By evening’s end, attendees were snapping belfies like crazy!

The 14th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge will comprise two events this year. On April 2, join us on Randall’s Island. On April 30, head up to beautiful Westchester County and hang with us at Manhattanville College. For more details, click here.

Meet Mark MK, the Man Behind “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)”

Timing is everything. When we first started planning The World’s Largest Booty Shake to promote the Protect Your Butt campaign, we imagined some loudspeakers blasting music we have all heard before. Then, one day last December, the phone rang. Mark ‘MK’ McLaughlin was on the line. And everything changed.

Mark ‘MK’ McLaughlin

Mark MK, a native New Yorker, is an R&B star who has opened for John Legend, Flo Rida (with the help of DJ Kronik), and performed at BB King’s with Rahsaan Patterson. He recently collaborated with Shaggy on a single that will soon be released nationally. He is kind of a big deal.

So why did he call us? Mark’s brother, Joseph Giddings, passed away from colon cancer in 2014 at the age of 52. Joseph, a father of five, enjoyed DJing parties and family events. Mark credits Joseph with inspiring him to become a DJ and then a singer and songwriter. So Mark reached out to us and asked us how he could help. And boy did we have an answer!

Fast-forward a few months and we are now less than a week away from The World’s Largest Booty Shake, at which Mark MK will be performing “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)” – the theme song of our campaign which he wrote just for us! We could not be more grateful for the fortuitous timing of his phone call, and for his incredible contribution to this event and this cause.

Mark took some time out of his jam-packed schedule to tell us more about why he decided to become an advocate for colon cancer, and what he hopes the impact of “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)” will be.

We are so grateful that you found our organization. Tell us about your decision to become an advocate for colon cancer awareness. 
Being that I’m a singer and a performer and my brother was a DJ, I felt like it was only right moving forward, from here on, to represent his name and get more involved in the cause. We’ve all heard of colon cancer before, but it’s a sad thing to wait for something bad to happen to someone close to get involved. I wish I had known about this sooner. What prompted me to call the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation was that I felt the need to get involved. I want other people to have that chance to get themselves screened. My mom is a missionary and she always preached. I have it in me, instilled in me, to make people aware of great things like what the Foundation is doing. I Googled colon cancer and was very impressed from what I saw on your website. Everything is happening right on track. This is the perfect time. I will be out there touring and spreading the message of colon cancer awareness.

What do you hope the impact of this campaign and your song will be?
I’m hoping it will get the younger demographic involved. Get them tested earlier so they have a chance to get healthy, God forbid they do have colon cancer. Music is the vehicle of many things. I hope this song can increase screening numbers by far.

You will be performing your song LIVE in Central Park for The World’s Largest Booty Shake, to promote the Protect Your Butt campaign and kick off Colon Cancer Awareness Month. What does this opportunity mean to you?
It means so much to me. It’s one thing to touch people with music, it’s another thing to touch people with a message. And to know that something you’re doing can go towards saving lives. Or at least give some healing to those who have lost lives. Give them some enjoyment, a reason to smile through the sadness.

Will “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)” be available to download?
Yes. The song will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, Amazon and other services and part of the proceeds will go towards colon cancer research.

What’s next for Mark MK?
I’m working on releasing an album called “The Big Show.” I definitely want to be more involved and include the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation in everything I do as I move forward in my career, continuing my work as an advocate for colon cancer research and prevention.

Sponsor Spotlight: Epigenomics and the Epi proColon®

The Colon Cancer Foundation is so fortunate to have the support of fantastic, generous sponsors for our Protect Your Butt campaign and The World’s Largest Booty Shake.  Today we introduce you to Epigenomics and the Epi proColon®.  David Bull, Director of Marketing, took some time out of his busy day to answer a few questions for us.

Tell us a little bit about Epigenomics and Epi proColon®.

Epigenomics is a molecular diagnostics company focused on blood-based detection of cancers using its proprietary DNA methylation technology.  Epigenomics develops and commercializes blood tests across multiple cancer indications with high medical need.  The two current products are Epi proColon® and Epi proLung®.

Epi proColon®, is the ONLY FDA-approved blood test for colon cancer screening.  Epi proColon® is intended for those people who have been avoiding screening.  A blood test is a patient-accepted screening method that avoids the time commitment and prep of a colonoscopy and the ‘ick’ factor of take home stool tests.

 How does the Epi proColon® test work?

Normal colorectal tissue and colorectal cancer tissue differ on a molecular level.  The test reliably detects a biomarker that is associated with colorectal cancer (methylated Septin9) in a routineblood draw.  A positive test result indicates that there is an increased likelihood for the presence of colorectal cancer and the patient should get a colonoscopy.  A negative test result indicates no increased likelihood for the presence of colorectal cancer. Epi proColon® is available through national and regional reference labs.  Go to www.crcbloodtest.com for more information.

Epi proColon® is a sponsor of our Protect Your Butt campaign and The World’s Largest Booty Shake. Thank you for that! Can you tell us why this campaign stands out to you and why it is important for Epigenomics to be involved?

Colon cancer screening saves lives.  Yet 1 in 3 or 23 Americans avoid colorectal cancer screening.  The Protect Your Butt campaign fosters the discussion that screening will lead to early detection of cancer as well as prevention by the identification and removal of precancerous polyps.  People need to get screened – people need to discuss colon cancer with their friends and family.  And, we are hopeful that the Protect Your Butt community will become aware there is now a blood test for colon cancer screening.

Most importantly, will you and your colleagues be shaking your booties with us on March 1?

Absolutely – in the US and at the headquarters in Germany.

Thank you for your time, David.  And thanks to Epigenomics for the generous support!

JOIN US for The World’s Largest Booty Shake!

12pm, Wednesday March 1

Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park, NYC

March Event Preview: Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Symposium

EAO CRC SYMPOSIUM 2017

Next up on the docket for Colon Cancer Awareness Month (after The World’s Largest Booty Shake of course!) is our third annual Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Symposium on Sunday, March 12. This singular event brings together leading physicians and researchers with survivors and caregivers in a uniquely interactive one-day course designed to address the breadth of issues facing young adult colorectal cancer patients and their families.

Phew! But seriously.

Whatever your connection to this disease, we as advocates have a responsibility to educate ourselves about the alarming increase in early age onset colorectal cancer and to spread awareness of this terrible – but reversible – trend. This Symposium will educate, motivate, and empower its attendees – and we hope you will join us.

We are honored this year to once again have the sponsorship support of Michael’s Mission, an incredible organization that is focused on improving the quality of life and treatment options for those suffering from colorectal cancer through education, research and patient support. This year’s Symposium – for the first time – is free to all attendees thanks to our generous host, the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Medical Center.

So, come for the free food, tchotchkes, and cheeky step and repeat complete with photo props. Stay for the critical stuff:

1. Up-to-the-minute content

The world of colorectal cancer treatment and prevention is ever-evolving. So too are the innovative ideas and technical tools to support those who are battling the disease. This symposium features the latest advances in all aspects of early age onset colorectal cancer care and survivorship.

2. Top-notch participants

Not to humble-brag, but you will be hearing from those at the tippity-top of this field. This Symposium is a one-day master class in medicine, research, and every other aspect of the EAO-CRC landscape. Nothing inspires hope like hearing from those at the forefront of this critical fight…

3. Ground-breaking collaboration and genuine interactivity

… and having the opportunity to speak directly to and work collaboratively with these brilliant minds. After all, we are all stronger together.

To learn more and register, click here.

To see presentations and stories from last year’s Symposium, click here.

Scenes from our 2016 Symposium: step and repeat!

Wasn’t kidding about the photo props

Great minds advocate alike