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.

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!

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.

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!

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!



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!

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.

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


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.

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.