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2018 Team Colon Cancer Challenge TCS NYC Marathoners Rock!

Congratulations to the members of Team Colon Cancer Challenge who conquered the TCS NYC Marathon this year! We are so grateful for the incredible spirit and fundraising efforts put forth by this team. Together, our team blazed past our fundraising goal to surpass $107,000! And every single member crossed the finish line on November 4.

On Marathon Eve, CCF hosted a team dinner at Covina. It was a wonderful evening of conversation and carbohydrates. Team members got the chance to meet each other and connect with CCF staff and our founder, Dr. Thomas Weber. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend!

Our international team came together from Hong Kong, Paris, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and other corners of the country and the world – including, of course, NYC. This diverse group of runners comprised a colorectal cancer surgeon, children of survivors, and other relatives and caregivers of survivors and those who lost their fight. Hearing our runners’ stories (check them out on our Crowdrise site) reminds us all that we are a long way from the finish line in the battle against colorectal cancer. But we cannot let ourselves hit the wall at mile 20. We must keep going.

Events like the NYC Marathon are critical to achieving our annual fundraising goals so we are able to continue such important initiatives as our Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Summit. Through the Summit we are able to support and share the latest research into the causes and treatment of colorectal cancer. We WILL get to the bottom of this (so to speak) and we are proud to have such incredible athletes and advocates on our side.

Interested in joining Team Colon Cancer Challenge? Check out our events page for information about the 2019 NYC Half Marathon, as well as other upcoming events. Like to spin? Join us and our Young Leadership Board on December 2 for the Ride for Research at Swerve!

Many thanks again to our incredible 2018 TCS NYC Marathon team. We hope you enjoy a well-deserved Thanksgiving feast this year!

A Watershed Moment for EAO-CRC: ACS Drops Screening Age to 45

It was the drop heard ’round the colorectal cancer world.

On Wednesday the American Cancer Society released a study in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians recommending that colorectal cancer screenings should begin at age 45 – instead of age 50 – for those at average risk. The Colon Cancer Foundation has been in the trenches, championing research into the alarming rise of early-age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC) for over a decade; so for us and so many other organizations and individuals in this fight, this is a watershed moment that is going to have a profound impact on the colorectal cancer landscape.

This is the first time that a prominent cancer organization has officially recognized that EAO-CRC is no fluke but a tragic and universal phenomenon that needs to be addressed immediately. 43% of EAO-CRC cases occur in those aged 45-49. If this new guideline becomes the norm, an estimated 22 million Americans can be screened, and thousands of lives will be saved.

As Dr. Thomas Weber, our founder and President, stated in an interview with The New York Times, “This is a very, very big deal. Solid epidemiological data from our national cancer registries documents a dramatic increase in the incidence of colon and especially rectal cancer among individuals under the age of 50, and the vast majority of those cases are in the 40- to 49-year-old age bracket.”

Dr. Thomas Weber addresses the crowd at the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit in NYC

The adoption of the revised ACS screening guideline will be a major step toward reversing the upward trend of EAO-CRC cases. In addition, physicians will soon have the added support of the Risk Assessment and Screening Toolkit – the brainchild of CCF and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT). This toolkit was presented by Emily Edelman of the Jackson Laboratory at our 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit held in April in NYC. It has been designed to give physicians much-needed resources and support to properly detect and treat colorectal cancer in those individuals with a family history of the disease; hereditary predispositions; as well as those under age 50.

We are hopeful that the powerful combination of the new ACS screening guidelines and the Risk Assessment and Screening Toolkit will help shift the tide of EAO-CRC. But there is still much work to be done. To learn more about the new ACS guidelines, click here. You can find more information about the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit here. To make a donation or get involved with CCF, please contact us!

In Celebration of Survivor Moms

With Mother’s Day around the corner, we are humbled to share the stories of some of the incredible moms in our survivor community.

Too many women – mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers – are being diagnosed with this disease, and not all stories end in survivorship. Colorectal cancer does not discriminate. It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women. This year alone will witness approximately 70,000 newly diagnosed cases of colon and rectal cancers in women. And the number of these cases in both women and men under age 50 is growing.

Women who are in the prime years of motherhood are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at a rate that is increasing every year. Through our Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Summit, we are working with the world’s leading researchers and physicians to combat this alarming trend. But there is so much more work to be done.

In anticipation of Mother’s Day this year, we hope you will read Gina’s inspiring story below and consider a donation – in honor of Gina or in honor or someone you know and love who has been affected by this terrible disease. Together we can ensure that Mother’s Day remains a happy holiday for generations to come.

Here is Gina’s story of how her battle with colon cancer has shifted her perspective on motherhood.

GINA NERI

Gina Neri, stage 3b colon cancer survivor and mother of three

Gina’s children: Aiden, Dylan, and Gianna Hope

I was diagnosed with Stage 3b colon cancer at the age of 39.  I was feeling great but bled rectally once and presented to my doctor to get checked out.  That week, I learned I was pregnant with my third child and that I had colon cancer.  It was the scariest week of my life.  The first thought that crossed my mind was if I die, my children will have to grow up without a mother.  It was devastating to think I wouldn’t be there for them and that they would be hurt and sad.   I didn’t think I could love my children any more, until I was diagnosed with colon cancer.  My love grew from the second I was diagnosed and every day during my battle.  The love I had for my children gave me strength to fight and to live another day.  I cherished my children before I was diagnosed with colon cancer, but my love and bond is so much greater now!   

I am a stronger person and mother now.  Being a survivor gave me a better appreciation for life and more perspective on what’s really important in life.  
To make a donation in honor of Gina or a spectacular survivor in your life, click here.

How Latest Research Impacts the Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Landscape

The 4th Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer (EAO CRC) Summit will be held this Thursday and Friday, April 26-27, in New York City. This singular, collaborative event brings together the top researchers, physicians, geneticists, and other professionals with a passionate and motivated group of EAO-CRC survivors, caregivers, and advocates. This year the Summit will be tackling the biggest question facing anyone who has been touched by early onset of this disease: WHY. Why are CRC incidence rates in young people, from teenage to under age 50, increasing so dramatically? What does the latest research tell us? We will find out!

Rebecca Siegel, MPH

One of this year’s speakers is Rebecca Siegel, MPH. Rebecca is the Strategic Director of Surveillance Information Services at the American Cancer Society. She has authored several published articles on cancer statistics and EAO CRC. In anticipation of this year’s Summit, Rebecca answered some burning questions for us.

Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF): This is your first appearance at the EAO-CRC Summit since the publication of your landmark study, Colorectal Cancer Incidence Patterns in the United States, 1974-2013. Why is participating in this Summit important to you? What sets this event apart from others you have attended?

Rebecca Siegel (RS): Most of the time, it is easy to explain why a particular cancer rate is increasing or decreasing. However, this is not the case for the rise in EO CRC. Obesity increases the risk of CRC and the epidemic has likely contributed to the trend, but much of the data suggest that other, unknown factors are at play. This meeting is exciting because it not only brings together experts on topics from environmental carcinogens to molecular genetics, but also includes young onset CRC survivors, who have their own unique perspective. It will be a brainstorming session with all of the key stakeholders to help generate ideas for how we can go about solving this mystery.

CCF: When your study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last year, there was quite a bit of press including an article in the New York Times by Roni Rabin highlighting the stories of some young CRC survivors. What impact do you think your research has had, and what impact has the response to your study had on you?

RS: I think that all of the publicity has helped to increase awareness of the trend, and the fact that although cancer is rare in young adults, it does happen. Almost 30% of patients diagnosed with rectal cancer are 20-54 years of age. And too many of these patients experience delays in diagnosis that reduce their treatment options and likelihood of survival. They, nor their doctors, are considering the possibility of cancer even with the most common symptoms, like persistent rectal bleeding and abdominal pain, because it is rare. But because of that, patients under 50 are much more likely to be diagnosed with disease that has spread beyond the colon or rectum than those who are older. I cannot express how gratifying it is to read some of the comments on Roni Rabin’s Times article and realize that a young person was diagnosed earlier because they read that story.

CCF: Can you tell us any tidbits from your upcoming presentation? How has your research progressed over the last year?

RS: We are looking at the data from different angles to try to uncover more clues about what might be causing the trend, but unfortunately I don’t have any results to share at this time.

CCF: In addition to the EAO-CRC Summit, what else do we need to do to address this urgent issue?

RS: Additional research is needed to identify currently unknown factors that may increase CRC risk, as well as the influence of known risk factors, like an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle, on children, adolescents, and young adults. Exposures happen 10-20 years before cancer is diagnosed, and almost everything we currently know about CRC risk factors is based on people diagnosed in their 60s and 70s.

For more information about the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit and to register, click here.

Earlier Conversations About Colorectal Cancer Can Lead to On-Time Screenings

The statistics are scary. While rates of colorectal cancer in adults over age 50 have been decreasing steadily over the years, colorectal cancer is rising fast among the young – even affecting teenagers.

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a person born in 1990 has twice the risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer than a person born in 1950 faced at a comparable age. The risk of rectal cancer? It’s four times higher.

Today, one in ten people diagnosed with colorectal cancer will be under the age of 50, about 13,500 cases annually. Because screening does not begin until age 50 for those with no family history of the disease, many of these early-age onset cases are late stage diagnoses and that much harder to treat.

Why is this happening? While there are obvious potential factors, the answer to “why” is phenomenally tricky to pin-point. But rest assured that some of the best physicians and researchers in the world are hard at work trying to put together the pieces of this complex puzzle. Many of these brilliant minds will be sharing their latest research and scientific breakthroughs the 4th Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer (EAO-CRC) Summit in New York City this month. This singular event, founded and run by the Colon Cancer Foundation, brings together leading physicians and researchers with survivors, caregivers, and advocates in a uniquely interactive two-day course that will tackle the question of “why” head-on.

One of the myriad issues surrounding the alarming rise in EAO colorectal cancer cases is that of communication. Young people – and their physicians – simply aren’t talking enough about this disease! Their remains a stigma attached to colorectal cancer: that it is an “old man’s disease.” New research shows that this could not be farther from the truth. Colorectal cancer does not discriminate, and we need to start talking about it.

Fortunately, the EAO-CRC survivor community is full of passionate and determined people who are raising awareness by sharing their remarkable stories. One of these advocates is Stacy Hurt, Strategic Partnership Manager at the Colon Cancer Coalition. Here, Stacy tells her story and makes the case for the necessity of earlier conversations about this disease.

Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF): Tell us about your diagnosis.

Stacy Hurt (SH): I was diagnosed on my 44th birthday (September 17th, 2014) with Stage IV rectal cancer. A colonoscopy revealed an 11cm tumor in my rectum so large that the GI could not get the scope around it to view the rest of my colon.  He aborted the procedure and sent me for a PET/CT scan that revealed very aggressive cancer in my liver, both lungs, and lymph nodes; 27 places in total. The oncologist at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center was “hoping that I would just get a little bit of time with my family.” Chances of beating it were slim to none. After 55 chemotherapies, 2 surgeries, and SBRT radiation, I am NED (“no evidence of disease”).

CCF: Did you have symptoms that went unchecked or ignored by your physicians because of your young age?

SH: No – it was actually ME who ignored my symptoms. I had no history of colon cancer in my family. I am a lifelong athlete, very fit, non-smoker, with an overall healthy lifestyle. There was no reason to think that I would have cancer, yet alone colon cancer, which I thought was an “old man’s, obese person’s disease.” I just thought that the bright red blood in my stool was from internal hemorrhoids. With two young children (one of whom is severely disabled) and a robust career, going to the doctor was an inconvenience. My abdominal pain and fatigue became too much to bear, so I finally went. I am grateful for a thorough PCP who sent me for a colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer was the last thing anyone ever expected.

CCF: What will you tell your children, and when, about knowing the signs and symptoms of EAO-CRC?

SH: I was honest with my children from Day One of my diagnosis (even though my special needs son doesn’t understand). I have spoken at my older son’s middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8) about being in tune with your body and telling your parents or your doctor if ANYTHING is abnormal with your body; even if it’s something that you may be ashamed to talk about, like poop. Poop is as natural a part of your body as blood, and it tells a lot about how your body is functioning.

CCF: What do you think is the best way for CCF, CURE, and other organizations in this space to spread the word about EAO-CRC?

SH: We need to go where young adults are (on social media, college campuses, technology-oriented workplaces) and get a message out there.  Young people in general think they are invincible. I certainly did. I was in the prime of my life enjoying my family and my career. We all need to slow down, get OFF of our devices, and get ON to healthy habits. We have one body – we should do EVERYTHING we can to identify our risk factors of CRC and take charge of the ones we can control. And for people like me who were doing all of that and still got CRC, do NOT view a trip to the doctor as an “inconvenience” – view it as a once a year “tune up” for another 50,000 miles of enjoying life! One hour out of your day to see the doctor sure beats countless hours of chemotherapy, surgeries, pain, recovery, hospital stays, infection, tears, and turmoil.

Stacy Hurt, Stage IV rectal cancer survivor

For more information about the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit and to register:

http://www.coloncancerchallenge.org/about/eao-crc/

https://www.curetoday.com/advocacy/coloncancerchallenge/upcoming-conference-discusses-colon-cancer-in-young-adults

 

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15th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge Photo Gallery

The 15th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge rocked Randall’s Island on Sunday, March 25th. With twice as many participants as last year (and no snow!) we are excited to have cemented Randall’s Island and its iconic Icahn Stadium as the home of the Colon Cancer Challenge.

Our enthusiastic and dedicated participants raised over $57,000 to help us continue our mission of eradicating colorectal cancer through awareness, screening, prevention, and research.

Thank you to everyone who came out to join us!

CCF’s Once-in-a-Lifetime #GivingTuesday Opportunity!

Happy Giving Tuesday!

In case there is anything left in your wallet after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, today is the day you will be bombarded by every non-profit organization you have ever supported. And we all need your money. But here’s why you should give to US, and here are four fun ways to do it – including a true once-in-a-lifetime giving opportunity!

Why CCF:

  1. We are truly on the front lines of the battle against early-age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC). We were the first organization to dedicate a summit solely to EAO-CRC, and we are prepping for the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit right now.
  2. In an increasingly competitive colon cancer non-profit space, we are innovators. Our partnership with Bilal Powell; our Protect Your Butt campaign; and our All-Star Experience are just some of the exciting ways we are raising awareness for colorectal cancer – and we are having fun doing it!
  3. We are there for YOU. Unlike larger organizations, we have the flexibility and genuine desire to connect with our supporters. We have adapted events to better suit our community of survivors and their families and our annual EAO-CRC Summit agenda is always designed with input from survivors.

Ready to whip out that credit card one more time? We appreciate it!

Here are four ways to give:

  1. Keep it simple. Make a quick and easy donation on our brand-spanking-new giving site!
  2. Give yourself the opportunity of a lifetime: enter to win the actual custom-designed cleats that Bilal Powell will wear for the My Cause My Cleats game in Week 13!
  3. RSVP for our the 2017 All-Star Experience, this Thursday in Floral Park, NY! It is going to be a heck of a great time and we hope you will join us.
  4. Run with Team Colon Cancer Challenge! We are now accepting applications for the 2018 NYC Half Marathon!

Thank you for taking the time to learn about CCF and support us.

Have we mentioned how amazing Bilal Powell’s cleats are? Because they are:

Will YOU Win the Best Seats in the House?

TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX

We are counting down the days to the most amazing sweepstakes in CCF history. There are only six days to go until we announce the winners of the Best Seats in the House! For just $10 you can throw your hat in the ring to win a VIP game day experience for two including a meet-and-greet with New York Jets running back Bilal Powell himself! A second lucky winner will snag a ball and jersey personally signed by Bilal.

And as if that is not enough, Bilal will ALSO be giving away his one-of-a-kind, custom-designed cleats that he will wear on Week 13! Click here to enter!

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are so grateful to Bilal for taking the My Cause My Cleats initiative to the next level by choosing to partner with us. If you haven’t already, watch the video below to see Bilal’s visit to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he met with colon and rectal cancer survivors and visited an endoscopy suite. Losing a close friend to colon cancer at age 36 changed Bilal Powell’s life – and now he will change the lives of so many others for the better through his work with us.

Thank you, Bilal, and all of our supporters – we could not do what we do without you!

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See the Photos: Bilal Powell Meets Colon Cancer Survivors and Launches Partnership with CCF!

It is a great thing when a good person with a platform takes a stand for an important cause. Here at CCF HQ, we are over the moon about our recently announced partnership and Crowdrise campaign with New York Jets star running back Bilal Powell. Bilal has chosen to participate in the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” initiative to honor a close friend who passed away from colon cancer at age 36 – yet another early-age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC) casualty. Seeing an opportunity to make a difference with “My Cause My Cleats,” Bilal did his research and decided to reach out to us, as CCF has led the charge against the rising rate of early-age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC) patients for the past several years.

But Bilal is not stopping at cleats. Yes, he will wear a one-of-a-kind, custom-designed pair of cleats for colon cancer awareness on Week 13. But he will also give away these cleats and other amazing, once-in-a-lifetime prizes (which can be yours for a mere $10 entry fee!) in the coming weeks.

Bilal also decided to make a visit to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, to meet colorectal cancer survivors and medical staff, and to see an endoscopy suite. As the photos in this gallery attest, we are so fortunate to have this gracious budding advocate together with us in this fight. We can’t wait to see where our partnership goes from here.

So, if you’re a Jets fan, or you know a Jets fan, or you just want to throw your hat in the ring to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, check out Bilal Powell’s Crowdrise campaign! And please share the link far and wide! Winners will be announced soon!

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2017 TCS NYC Marathon Photo Gallery: A Record-Breaking Year for CCF!

28 team members. 26.2 miles. Over $128,000 raised.

This year’s TCS NYC Marathon was a record-breaker for Team Colon Cancer Challenge, and we could not be more grateful to this spirited, motivated, and dedicated group of athletes. Together, our team has raised close to $130,000 – that’s almost DOUBLE our original fundraising goal! We are humbled and proud to have been represented by such an enthusiastic group of runners, survivors, caregivers, and supporters.

Why is Team Colon Cancer Challenge a vital part of what we do here at CCF? Team Colon Cancer Challenge is about more than running, more than fundraising. We consider our team members to be our grassroots ambassadors. Pavement-pounding awareness-raisers. We can calculate the miles, we can calculate the funds. But what is immeasurable is perhaps what is most valuable: spreading the word. Telling people why you have joined Team Colon Cancer Challenge and communicating why this cause is important to you and should be important to everyone.

During his marathon training this year, Team CCC and Team Luc member Anthony Gollan received the following text from a friend:

Hi Anthony… hope you are well. Remember 3 or 4 years ago, you were involved in an awareness campaign for colon cancer? Well, even though I listened and remembered everything, I put off getting a colonoscopy because I wanted to avoid the discomfort and hassle. Since the fundraiser, I periodically play back the facts in my head. I finally listened, and had my first colonoscopy last week. The experience wasn’t bad at all. The doctor removed two polyps. One large and one small. Today, [I] received the pathology report. Turns out that they weren’t run of the mill polyps, and were, in fact, pre-cancerous. Doctor said I don’t need to worry, but that I do need to have another colonoscopy in a year, before he can give me the all-clear. If it weren’t for you planting those nagging facts in my head, I almost certainly wouldn’t have given a thought to getting checked. Instead of being 6 years late, I likely would not have seen a doctor until I had symptoms… at which time it may have been too late. So, I want to thank you for caring enough to be involved with that organization, and for sharing life saving information. Information is power!

As long as colorectal cancer remains the #2 cancer killer, we need our relentless runners in their blue shirts. And we cannot thank the 28 members of this year’s team enough for their incredible accomplishments before, during, and after the Marathon.

Stephanie, John, Robby, Matthew, Anthony, Michael, Anthony, Brian and Deb, Dan, Gretchen, Ceara, Scott, Thomas, Diane, Ian, Hillary, Cathy, Lou, Frank, Jerry, Mark, David, Tamara, Jason, and Amy: THANK YOU. Together, you broke records, achieved milestones, and saved lives.

We are still accepting donations! Help us honor this incredible team by making a donation today. Can we break $130K? We think so!