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!

Now that school is back in session and before the summer feels like too distant a memory, we wanted to share with you some exciting updates from the Colon Cancer Foundation HQ!
What did we do this summer? A lot!
To kick things off, in May our very own Dr. Thomas Weber was honored as a Westchester Magazine Healthcare Hero.  Dr. Weber was chosen from a field of almost 100 nominees for his unparalleled commitment to helping colorectal cancer patients and their families while educating and empowering the next generation of surgeons and researchers.  While he has always been a hero to us, we are so proud that Westchester Magazine recognized Dr. Weber with this prestigious honor.

Dr. Weber and his lovely wife Clare

Our Executive Director, Cindy Borassi, with Dr. Weber

Dr. Weber accepts his award

For more photos from the event, click here or visit us on Instagram (@coloncancerchallenge)! Please follow our new Instagram account and help us build our Instacommunity!
Dr. Weber was a busy man this summer.  In July he headed to Florence, Italy for the 2017 InSiGHT (International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumors) Biennial Meeting.  Dr. Weber is on the InSiGHT council and he was invited to speak on early age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC) – one of his specialties and, as we know from our EAO-CRC Symposium, an increasingly serious and urgent problem.
In August, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt featured our very own board member and Stage IV survivor Katie Rich in a video about the rise in colon cancer in those under 50.  The video was produced on the heels of a new American Cancer Society (ACS) studydetailing the terrifying rise in early age onset colorectal cancer deaths.  As with its coverage of the February ACS study on increasing incidence of EAO colorectal cancer, The New York Times quoted Dr. Weber in its article detailing this new study.  We are proud to be recognized as the organization at the forefront of EAO-CRC and will continue to lead the charge to reverse these alarming trends.
On a lighter note, we are thrilled to say that not only did we fill every NYC Marathon spot on Team Colon Cancer Challenge, but our amazing team has already raised more than $90,000!  Stay tuned for spotlight stories on some of our new team members here on the blog.  Prepare to be inspired!  To learn more about this year’s team, click here.
 Finally, there has as always been a lot happening behind the scenes here at CCF HQ, and we have some exciting new events coming up this Fall.
 We hope you will join us in October for the First Annual Rally Against Colon Cancer on Long Island.  Take in the fall foliage on a gorgeous drive out to the Hamptons, meet some new friends, and see some very cool cars!  We are so grateful to our friends at BMW of Freeport, MINI of Freeport and Mercedes-Benz of Massapequa for organizing this incredible fundraiser.
 November will witness the running of the TCS NYC Marathon and the first annual BLUEFORYOU Experience.  More details coming soon!  Thank you to all our partners and supporters.  2017 is going to end on a strong note for CCF and we couldn’t do it without you.

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.

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,, 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

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 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 ( 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 ( 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.