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

 

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:

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!

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!

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!

This post is a first for our runner spotlight series. Jason Hanrahan was lucky enough to win the lottery! No, not that lottery – the NYC Marathon lottery. But just Jason started his marathon training, a close friend was diagnosed with colon cancer and Jason decided to run the NYC Marathon as a member of Team Colon Cancer Challenge. So while he may not be sitting on a life-changing pile of cash, he has chosen to change lives by raising cash for the Colon Cancer Foundation.

Here is Jason’s story.

Jason Hanrahan

To my luck, I was selected to run the 2017 New York City Marathon via the lottery. As I started training for the race, one of my best friends from high school, Eric Augur, started battling colon cancer.

At age 42, Eric went to the doctor for a standard physical since it had been two years since his last one. He had routine blood work, which showed he was severely anemic. The doctor was concerned and ordered a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. Shortly thereafter, they discovered a cancerous tumor in his descending colon. As he went in for pre-op scans before surgery, the scans revealed that the cancer had spread into his liver. Eric was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. He had to endure three months of chemo to shrink the tumors, surgery to remove 40% of his liver and colon, and endured setbacks that resulted in 20 days in the hospital. He is one of the toughest people I know!! I am HAPPY to report that at this point he is healthy enough to start his final three-month round of chemo to ensure they neutralize all the cancer. His outlook is extremely positive.

Eric and his family (wife Dana, sons Trevor and Quinn, daughter Elise) are constantly on my mind. I did not think it made much sense to run this race just to finish. I want to honor him and raise money to support the Colon Cancer Foundation. I have run one marathon before (Marine Corp Marathon) in which I ran to support injured Marine “Warriors”. This will allow me to run for another injured “Warrior”. Please consider donating to this great cause in support of my friend and to increase awareness of colon cancer.

We are so grateful to Jason for joining our team to honor Eric and raise money and awareness for this cause. Thanks to Jason and the rest of Team Colon Cancer Challenge, we are $50,000 OVER our original goal and have cruised past $120,000 raised! To learn more about Jason and support his fundraising efforts, click here.

With just a few weeks to go before the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon, Team Colon Cancer Challenge continues to rock! Our incredible fundraisers have blazed past our initial goal, taking us over $114,000 and keeping us firmly in the top ten overall NYC Marathon fundraising teams. Congrats to you all, and thank you!

One of our amazing runners, Ceara Kirchner, is new to Team CCCF this year and running her first marathon. Ceara shares her story of how hereditary colon cancer has affected her family on her fundraising page and has given us permission to share it here, with our entire community.

One of the cornerstones of our work here at the Colon Cancer Foundation is raising awareness of and supporting research into hereditary colorectal cancer. “Know your family history” is a common phrase at all our events. Our founder, Dr. Thomas Weber, is one of the leading voices on this topic, speaking all over the world to help advance prevention, screening, and treatment protocols.

Unfortunately, Ceara’s story is one that is all too common. But as she says, hereditary colon cancer is a “preventable, treatable, and beatable disease when caught early.” Ceara has already had her first colonoscopy, at age 30. If more people can follow Ceara’s example, be aware of their family history and proactive in their own care, we can change the future of hereditary colorectal cancer.

Ceara Kirchner

Here is Ceara, in her own words:

Earlier this year I found a list I created 10 years ago with some goals I had for my 20s. On this list was “run a marathon”. My first thought was “well, that didn’t happen in your 20s”. My second thought was “what phase was I in when I wrote this list?” Like so many others, much of my life has been broken into phases because of Colon Cancer.

The phase before my Grandma, Faye Kirchner, was diagnosed with it (during high school), the phase during which she courageously battled it, and the phase after she lost that battle at age 70 (during college.) The phase before my Dad, Jody Kirchner, was diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer at age 48 (during college graduation.) The 2.5 years of laughs, chemo rooms, cries, hospitals, hugs, I love yous, doctor offices, adventures, waiting for results, and creating memories in which he battled with strength, wisdom, humor, love, and regret. You see, one of the many challenges of watching someone battle colon cancer and I’m sure being the one battling colon cancer, is knowing that it is preventable, treatable, and beatable disease when caught early. There are screenings, symptoms, and family history indicators to help catch it early and if you do, the survival rates are much higher. The phase after my Dad passed away at age 50 has been full of grief, navigating life without a loved one, getting my first colonoscopy, lots of “what-ifs”, and new adventures and beginnings.

This year has been the start of a new phase. It’s been 5 years since we lost my Dad, it’s been my first year in a new decade (30!), it will be 10 years since we lost Grandma Faye, it will be the year I venture into married life, and now the year of my first full marathon! I’ve decided it’s time to mark off that bucket list item (albeit, a year late) and I can’t imagine doing it for a better cause.

In full disclosure, my Dad hated running and I’m pretty sure the only time I saw him run was when he saw a snake but I know he would think this was pretty cool (and crazy!) I’m so proud of his fight and the person he was and I’m so happy to run this race in his and my grandma’s memory. I’m just hoping 2 of my favorite guardian angels are able to watch with a proud smile and maybe give me an extra push when needed on race day.

Thank you for taking your time to read my story, regardless of if you are able to donate or not, please encourage a love one to get screened and watch for symptoms and give them an extra hug, because you never know what the future will bring.

A huge thank you to Ceara for helping raise awareness of hereditary colon cancer. To support Ceara, click here!

We are beyond thrilled to announce our newest partnership with Steiner Sports, the leading producer of authentic hand-signed memorabilia!

The kick-off event for this ground-breaking partnership is the 2017 BLUEFORYOU EXPERIENCE to be held in New Rochelle, New York on November 30. CEO and Founder of Steiner Sports Brandon Steiner and Colon Cancer Foundation President and Founder Dr. Thomas K. Weber, MD, FACS will co-host the event. Guests attending the BLUEFORYOU EXPERIENCE will have an exclusive opportunity to meet and interact with baseball legend and two-time colon cancer survivor Darryl Strawberry. Rising hip-hop artist Mark MK will also perform his new song “PYB – Protect Ya Butt.”

“Having the support of Steiner Sports in the fight against colon cancer provides us with a unique channel to reach out to the millions of Americans who aren’t getting screened,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, CCCF founder. “Too many people avoid talking about colon cancer because they are unaware or scared, and Steiner Sports is uniquely positioned to help us provide that education.”

“Our kick-off event is just the beginning,” said Brandon Steiner, Steiner Sports CEO and Founder. “Colon Cancer is the number two cancer killer in the USA, and we need to shake things up and raise awareness. If we can get our broad reaching community, talking about colon cancer they will get screened earlier and lives will be saved.”

The money raised during the BLUEFORYOU EXPERERIENCE will directly support Protect Your Butt, our our hilarious, butt-busting, belfie-posting public awareness campaign, as well as our life saving colorectal cancer research, education and screening programs. PYB is breaking through all stigmas and fears around colon cancer and screening and massively increasing awareness – but we need to keep spreading the word!

To find our more and purchase tickets to the 2017 BLUEFORYOUEXPERIENCE, visit https://blueforyou.greatfeats.com/.

We are honored to be able to share another incredible story from Team Colon Cancer Challenge.  Diane Hauder will be running her 6th marathon on November 5.  This year’s TCS NYC Marathon will also be on Diane’s birthday weekend – and, sadly, it will be her first birthday since her mom passed away from colon cancer.  We are in awe of Diane’s dedication to running and her commitment to honoring her mother’s memory by conquering the one and only NYC Marathon.  For more about Diane, read on.

Soon to be six-time marathoner Diane Hauder

What is your connection to colorectal cancer?

My Mom, Susan Hauder, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer the week of Thanksgiving 2016, and put up a noble fight, but passed away on April 1, 2017.  This was my first exposure to colon cancer, and sparked myself and my two brothers into action, two of us getting our first colonoscopies and for one of us his second.  Thankfully we all received a clean bill of health.

Are you running in honor of a loved one?

I am running in memory of my mom, Susan Hauder.  I will be dedicating every stride to the woman who gave me life and made me the strong, independent, marathon-running woman I am today.  My mom was a wonderful, caring woman, who lived each day of her life with the goal of making others happy and feel special and loved.  She had a contagious laugh and a warm and welcoming embrace that everyone seemed to gravitate to.  She was the Nana to five grandchildren, who lovingly referred her to as Ninja Nana.

Diane and her mom Susan

Why did you decide to join Team Colon Cancer Challenge?

I had applied to run the NYC Marathon for the last two years via the lottery, unsuccessful both years.  Early this summer I was having a conversation with a friend who is running NYC, and he mentioned that the first time he ran NYC he ran for a charity.  This conversation sparked the thought of running for charity; at the same time I had been working with ALS on charity spots for the Chicago Marathon, as a member of my running group, Libertyville Running Club, was diagnosed last year with ALS.  This conversation again reinforced the ability to run a major marathon for charity.  I also had a few other conversations about running the NYC Marathon with other friends – so it felt that something was in the air!  I then began to research the Charity Partners of the NYC Marathon, knowing that if I ran for charity it would need to be a charity that was meaningful to me, this is when I discovered the Colon Cancer Foundation.  Reading the mission of CCF, I was even more drawn to the possibility of running, as part of the mission is early detection screening, something that could have facilitated a much earlier diagnosis of my mom’s cancer.

What are you most looking forward to in conquering the NYC Marathon?

There are so many things I am looking forward to:

  • It’s my birthday weekend! This will be my first birthday without my mom, so finding a way to honor her was very important to me – and running a marathon in her memory is perfect!
  • One of my brothers, his wife, along with some of my friends are coming to NYC for the whole weekend – celebrating my birthday and spectating the marathon!
  • Completing the NYC Marathon, my 6th marathon and another major/Abbott 6 Star event!
  • Running for CCF, honoring my mom and raising awareness for colon cancer; and
  • Returning to the East Coast where I was born and raised, and running in a city I used to live 12 miles away from (I used to live in Northern NJ- Montclair/Bloomfield and conduct a great deal of business in Manhattan) – which means lots of friends along the route cheering me on!!!

Diane has already reached her fundraising goal (thank you, Diane!), but help her climb the ranks of our top fundraisers by clicking here!

It’s that time of year again, when the members of Team Colon Cancer Challenge are pounding the pavement to train for the race of their lives: the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon.  We have an extraordinary group this year.  Our 25 runners have already raised over $95,000! To check out our full team, click here.

Up first in our 2017 NYC Marathon spotlight is Stephanie Bonomo from Stoneham, Massachusetts.  This is her first marathon.  Stephanie has raised a remarkable $11,600 towards her ambitious (and awesome!) goal of $12K!  Thank you Stephanie!  Here is her story:

Stephanie Bonomo

What is your connection to colorectal cancer?

On April 20, 2017, at the young age of 55, the Honorable Jeffrey Abber lost his 2.5 year battle versus colon cancer.  On that day the world lost an incredibly special human being, and an even more incredible husband, father and friend.

To me Jeff was a friend, a mentor, and my “go to guy” on so many things.  In his passing he has forever left a hole in my heart.  I truly believed that Jeff had many years ahead of him.  He deserved so many more years.  Throughout Jeff’s battle he and his family epitomized positivity and always believed that there would be something around the next corner that would keep Jeff well.  Even when no answers remained the Abbers continued to focus on only the positives and were appreciative of the life Jeff led and the love their family shared.

Why did you decide to join Team Colon Cancer Challenge?

Prior to Jeff’s passing I had vowed to never run a marathon.  Frankly, I thought running 26.2 miles was absurd.  However, shortly before Jeff’s passing, seemingly at random, information for the Colon Cancer Foundation and the NYC Marathon came across my computer.  I felt as though it was meant to be.  What better way to honor Jeff and his family than to follow their lead and channel my grief into something positive.  Thus, with the support of the Abber Family, I joined Team Colon Cancer Challenge and have vowed to raise as much money as possible to aid in the fight against colon cancer.  I want to honor Jeff’s legacy by helping the Colon Cancer Foundation raise funds to find the cure so that others have the opportunity to beat this disease.  #AbberStrongAlways

What are you most looking forward to in conquering the NYC Marathon?

It will make me feel as though I did something I set out to do and more importantly I can visualize Jeff beaming with all of the love everyone has for him.

To learn more about Stephanie and to support her incredible fundraising, click here!