Where’s Weber: Young Onset CRC at the WEO Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee Meeting

Welcome to the inaugural post in our “Where’s Weber?” blog series!

In this series we will attempt to keep up with our founder, Dr. Thomas Weber, as he trots across the country and around the globe speaking on a variety of topics relating to the newest advances in diagnosing and treating colorectal cancer, screening practices, and trends such as the alarming rise in early age onset of this disease.  This foundation is a testament to the depth of Dr. Weber’s commitment to eradicating this disease and supporting all who are fighting it, and we are excited to loop our community into Dr. Weber’s ground-breaking work.

Event: World Endoscopy Organization Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee Meeting

Where and When: Chicago, May 5, 2017

Dr. W’s Gig: Presentation on “Young Onset CRC” as part of the session on Risk Groups

JB: Why is it important to take the time out of your already packed schedule to attend events like this?

TW: I would say it’s because so much of this effort is driven by the reality of taking care of people with the disease.  When you do that on a regular basis it prompts you to ask yourself what could we possibly do to prevent this and what could we do to protect people and faciliitate the earliest possible diagnosis.

On the issues of early age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC), the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation started this campaign over four years ago and just finished our Third Annual EAO-CRC Symposium.  We were actively engaged well before this got all the recent press this past March.  It is so important to promote awareness about this issue.  The vast majority of people are diagnosed late and that can translate into poor outcomes.

I see this work as a direct extension of my day job, which is taking care of patients with this disease.  And having done special training in surgical oncology, we are trained to take it to the next level and see what’s really going on.  Giving these talks is a direct continuum and helps promote awareness and provides opportunities to discuss the issues with colleagues and to launch programs to promote awareness and facilitate prevention and earliest possible diagnosis.

JB: What is the World Endoscopy Organization (WEO)?

TW: WEO is truly a global organization of gastro and endoscopy specialists.  This is their annual CRC screening committee meeting.  So the bulk of this meeting was all about trying to fine tune and optimize current screening technologies, including stool testing technologies, improved endoscopic techniques, and very sophisiticaed investigations into the timing and frequency of these tests, reviewing the guidelines in great detail.  The inclusion of EAO-CRC in this program shows grave concern from this organization.  It’s global issue.

This meeting was the day before the start of Digestive Disease Week (DDW), a huge international meeting with thousands of people from all over the world.  WEO holds satellite meetings around DDW, and this was one of them.

JB: Are there any important highlights from this meeting that are particularly relevant to our community?

TW: There was a lot of discussion about very early small adenomas and to what extent is it necessary to continue to follow people, i.e. how often they are screened and with what technique.  We really tried to work through the data and the science to come up with the safest screening schedule.

The major takeaway was from Dr. Sidney Winawer from Memorial Sloane, who said, “The best test is the test that is done well.”  With all the different types of testing, patients can have difficulty naviating and deciding what is the best technique.  Just get it done and get it done well.

There was also important discussion around clinical assessment tools.  There is great international interest in these efforts to provide doctors with decision support tools (e.g. data) to refer patients for a colonoscopy.  There is a very small percentage of people with symptoms and signs that will have CRC, but there are other diseases that people could have that you need to know about because they are treatable!  Treatable diseases like colitis or crohns make people more susceptible to CRC in the future.

The overarching agenda was 1) What’s up with incidence; 2) What are the causes; and 3) What are the action steps to save lives.  It has taken years to make this observation and organize it, to get a grip.  What are the constructive ways to look at it and think about it?

The Colon Cancer Foundation has been instrumental in this effort to break it all down by organizing three summits with faculty from all over the world.  These events have allowed us to really grasp the problem.  We have been at the forefront and want to stay there by forming effective collaborations with the right people.

For more information on the WEO Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee, please click here.

For the full program, click here.

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3rd Annual Westchester Colon Cancer Challenge in Pictures

On Sunday, April 30 we hosted the 3rd Annual Westchester Colon Cancer Challenge on the spectacular grounds of Manhattanville College in Purchase.  With great weather, enthusiastic volunteers and sponsors, and spirited teams, this year’s event proved to be a fantastic success.

We would like to thank all of our participants, especially our tireless team captains and amazing fleet of kids who ran an incredible kids race!  We would also like to recognize our first-time participants and welcome them into our community of colon cancer fighters.  As always, we are so grateful to our volunteers and sponsors, without whom this event could not happen.

And we want to congratulate the top finishers of the three-mile fun run:

Top Women
1. Alessandra Rosso
2. Carolun Lisboa
3. Valerie Jaiswal

Top Men
1. Lawrence Rosso
2. Daniel Catappano
3. Brandon Detoma

We look forward to continuing to grow this family-friendly Challenge into Westchester’s premiere colon cancer awareness event.  If you are interested in joining the Westchester Colon Cancer Challenge Committee, please contact us!

For the full slideshow of pictures from this fantastic day, visit us on Facebook.

ProtectYourButt.com is LIVE! Prepare to be Butt Dialed…

Who is this guy? We don’t know either. But we DO know that our new campaign is going to be great!

We have launched the #Belfie Challenge.  We have shaken our booties to Mark MK’sPYB (Protect Ya Butt)” in Central Park.  And now we are thrilled to announce that our campaign website, ProtectYourButt.com, is now live!

The Protect Your Butt campaign is going to reach hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions!) of people and we can’t wait for our community to be a part of it.  Read on to find out exactly what we’re up to (and what is UP with that butt in the headset?!) and how you can be a part of this fun, funny, ground-breaking campaign.

Check out our shiny new website!

What is Protect Your Butt?

Protect Your Butt is an initiative of the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation.  Our mission is to raise awareness of colorectal cancer in a new and innovative way, reaching more people than ever before.

Meet Chad. He is a butt.

How are we promoting PYB?

We will accomplish our mission via events like the World’s Largest Booty Shake and the Colon Cancer Challenge; social media initiatives like the #BelfieChallenge; and launching the Butt Dial.  What is the Butt Dial?  If you are among the lucky ones on our call list, you’ll soon find out for yourself!  Chad and his team of butts will be hard at work, making phone calls to help spread the word that colorectal cancer is treatable and beatable if caught early.  And, critically, if you know someone who has been putting off getting a colonoscopy or ignoring serious symptoms, you can nominate him or her to get a call from Chad or one of his colleagues!  You can also share your own cancer butt-kicking story and help inspire others to join our cause.

What do we hope to accomplish with this bonkers approach?

Cold-calling butts?  Really?

Yes.  Really.  Because colorectal cancer is still the second-leading cause of cancer death in this and many other countries.  Because, if caught early, colorectal cancer is treatable and beatable.  Because the dramatic rise in early-age onset colorectal cancer is alarming and ridiculous.  Because people are still not talking about this disease enough.

But maybe people will talk about a fuzzy butt wearing a headset and blue jeans.

And that is where we start.

We hope you will join us.  Click here to Protect Your Butt!

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14th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge Rocks Randall’s Island

The 14th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge

Mother Nature was in a good mood on Sunday, April 2, providing a glorious, crisp, sunny day for the 14th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge!  This year marked our flagship event’s return to Manhattan – a long-standing request from our community of survivors and other participants which we were thrilled to be able to fulfill this year.

Randall’s Island proved to be an excellent venue for the Colon Cancer Challenge.  Our Wellness Festival, complete with the Rollin’ Colon, Survivor Tent, and kids’ activities, took place on the spacious and sunny concourse level of the iconic Icahn Stadium (I mean, how many times has any New Yorker driven by this stadium? Dozens? Hundreds?).  The kids’ race, 5K, and Remembrance and Prevention Walk started and ended on the stadium’s pristine, colon cancer blue track.  DJ Brad blasted fun music – including Mark MK‘s “PYB (Protect Ya Butt)” – throughout the stadium; and the names of our teams, sponsors, and top supporters projected proudly from the jumbotron.  Our runners and walkers were thrilled with the beautiful 5K course that winds along the shore of Randall’s Island.  The Colon Cancer Challenge has found its new NYC home and we are very excited to re-grow this event in the coming years.

We would like to thank our amazing sponsors and partners, without whom there could be no Colon Cancer Challenge!  Thank you Bracco Diagnostics, Epigenomics, Mount Sinai Health System, Concorde Medical Group, Exact SciencesHealtheo360Remco Press, Perfect Bars, T Wellott Photography, Absolute Entertainment, and Heartfulness.org.

And now, on to Westchester!  Please join us for our third Westchester Colon Cancer Challenge on Sunday, April 30 on the stunning grounds of Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY.  To register, click here.

April is the New March

Colon Cancer Awareness Month may be winding down (and what a month it was!) but good news! We have a stellar event lineup planned for April. So keep your blue star pin handy and whip out your sneakers, because here’s what we’ve got going on in Month After Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

APRIL 2: 14th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge – Randall’s Island

Join us as we make our triumphant return to Manhattan this Sunday, April 2.  This year’s Challenge will feature a 5K that winds through gorgeous Randall’s Island and finishes on the famed Icahn Stadium track.  We will also host kids races (with medals!) and, of course, our Remembrance and Prevention Walk.  Randall’s Island is easily accessible from NYC – with plenty of parking! – and has city views you won’t find anywhere else.  Mark MK will also be performing – you don’t want to miss it! Registration opens at 8:30am on Sunday morning.

APRIL 13: Colon Cancer Awareness Night at Yankee Stadium Featuring Mark MK and DJ Theo

Calling all Yankee fans!  Party 105.3FM has partnered with Mark MK and DJ Theo to present Colon Cancer Awareness Night at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, April 13.  Tune into DJ Theo’s show on Party 105.3FM (or listen online at party105.com) TODAY from 5-6pm for more information and a chance to win tickets!

APRIL 30: Colon Cancer Challenge – Westchester

Please join us on the spectacular campus of Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY on Sunday, April 30 for the Westchester Colon Cancer Challenge.  This year’s event will feature a 3 mile mixed terrain fun run, kids fun run (more medals!), and our Remembrance and Prevention Walk.  The Wellness Festival kicks off at 8:30am.  Online registration is still open, so sign up to participate or volunteer.  Bring your family, and encourage your friends to be there or be square.  This is a beautiful, family-focused event that has become a true highlight on our annual event calendar.  We hope to see you there!

As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or feedback.  It is so important to us that our events reflect our community.  We only want to host what YOU want to attend!  So please, drop us a line or give us a call to let us know what you think.  We are here for you.  And we’ll see you in April!

2017 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon: Thank You Team Colon Cancer Challenge!

The 2017 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon was a great success this year. Congratulations to Team Colon Cancer Challenge, and thank you for sharing your stories with us and for your fundraising efforts!  Jennifer, Scott, Christina, Dan, Ashley, Lesley, Lindsey, Matthew, and Tony – together you raised over $17,500 to help fund our critical programming, research and awareness initiatives.  We would like to give a special shout-out to our top fundraiser, Jennifer Charvat, who raised $4,600 and ran in honor of Dan Rate.  We hope to see you all running with us again in the future!

Thinking about running this amazing race next year?  Here are 13.1 reasons why you should go for it!

Need a bigger challenge?  We are now accepting applications for the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon!

Need a fun morning out on a gorgeous spring day on Randall’s Island?  Join us this weekend for the 14th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge!

 

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!