2020 has been a challenging year in so many ways, but especially for the cancer community. However, colon cancer does not stop for Covid-19 and neither do we! We were extremely excited to continue the legacy of the physical Colon Cancer Challenge by going virtual this year. 2020 also marked the 17th year of the Challenge, where teams of families, friends, co-workers, local and national corporations come together to raise awareness of colorectal cancer, support those battling the disease and raise funds for the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation’s strategic initiatives of Public Awareness, Prevention, and Research.
We were blown away by the support of our community during this unprecedented time, and are happy to recognize Maya Degnemark and Darryl Gross for their efforts and support during the Challenge. They ran over 1,200 miles collectively during our virtual event, each for their own reasons which you can learn more about below:
Maya Degnemark, top female winner of the Global Colon Cancer Challenge
My name is Maya Degnemark, I am 16 years old and I live in Brooklyn, New York. I have watched my uncle, Sanjay Bery, battle colon cancer for many years and now I proudly stand beside him fighting for this cause. Though I have been on my school’s running team since I began high school and have participated in many local races (including the physical race for colon cancer the last couple of years), I have never been so serious about running or about staying healthy. Things changed, however, in mid- March when my packed everyday life quickly changed (and ultimately became more relaxed), and I saw the opportunity to set both a weight loss and general health goal for myself (and compete in this virtual challenge, which I did not know was this great when I started!) Since then, I have been staying very active – even reaching my 100th day of running (between 3 and 6.5 miles) on July 26th. Now looking back on the past few months and this challenge, I am proud of myself for achieving my personal goals but for also using my own determination to fight for a much greater cause. I thank everyone who participated in this challenge, donated to this organization, or just helped raise awareness for this cause. I am dedicated to continue working with this organization in the years to come and continuing to commend them for their fantastic fight.
Darryl Gross, top male winner of the Global Colon Cancer Challenge
I became involved with CCF after my wife, Jessica, was diagnosed with colon cancer back in April. It’s been a whirlwind since then with surgeries and having to then start chemotherapy. The experience has been very hard especially during these times. The positive is that her cancer was caught relatively early due to her proactivity. She knew her body and she felt something was not right and pressed the issue of getting a colonoscopy with her gastroenterologist even as the world was shutting down in March due to Covid-19. Knowing her body, her intuition was right as she had a cancerous polyp that was removed during her colonoscopy. She then had to have an additional colorectal surgery before starting chemo. Chemotherapy will be done in November just in time for the holiday season! She’s 36 and her prognosis is great because she was proactive in getting a colonoscopy even during these uncertain times. It’s been an extra challenging time with everything else going on but we are pushing through. I know both my wife and our world will be better soon! Through this whole situation we have realized how important friends and family are and the power of positive thinking! We are very grateful for everyone in our lives!
As far our involvement with the foundation, it’s new but will be a cause we will support for the rest of our lives. I saw the notification of the activity challenge and as a family who supports physical activity (we are both runners), I thought it was something great to get involved with. I plan on participating for many years to come!