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Jamie Crespo lives in Seattle, Washington and is a Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF) Champion. She was introduced to CCF through the New York City marathon when she registered to run for our charity in 2020. When looking through charities, she found that CCF’s mission and cause was relevant to her personal experience with her family. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she ran the marathon in 2021.

In 2017, Jamie’s parents who were both in their 60s had never undergone a screening colonoscopy. In the absence of a family history of colon cancer, they did not even consider scheduling one. However, her father started losing a significant amount of weight and seemed very pale. When Jamie persuaded him to see a doctor, they discovered he had internal bleeding. After running some tests, the doctors found a mass in his colon. Following a colectomy, he was diagnosed with stage 3B colon cancer. Jamie’s father started chemotherapy in the fall of 2017 and is, fortunately, in remission!

In the beginning of the same year, Jamie’s mother was to receive a check-up but it was delayed to the fall due to her father’s diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Unfortunately, when her mother went through a screening colonoscopy, she was diagnosed with stage 1 colon cancer. Thankfully, she was able to undergo a laparoscopic colectomy, in time, and remains in remission.

With no known history of colon cancer in her family, Jamie emphasizes that everyone should initiate their screening at the recommended age of 45 years. She promotes preventative care knowing that typically, individuals who present with symptoms may be diagnosed at a more advanced stage when the disease is less treatable. Ever since her parents’ diagnoses, Jamie posts regularly on social media and raises money for the CCF. She is a member of the Club Seattle Runners Division and posted photos of her run to promote colorectal cancer awareness as well as relay her personal story of colorectal cancer. 

You can find Jamie on Instagram: @jamielynette

Kenadi Kaewmanaprasert is a Colon Cancer Prevention Intern with the Colon Cancer Foundation. 

Justin Adler is a Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF) Champion who lives in New York City. He works for a small SaaS (Software as a Service) company leading their strategic finance team. In addition to being involved with CCF, Justin coaches a football team and is a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York where he mentors a 9-year-old boy. He joined CCF in the beginning of 2022 as he hoped to be involved with something more personal.

CCF Champions started off as a young leadership council of the board—it has now evolved into a team of individuals with a personal or familial impact of colorectal cancer. The team meets on a monthly basis to discuss how best to support CCF’s mission of raising awareness around colorectal cancer from a board perspective, including leading and participating in the Foundation’s events.

One such event was  the annual Colon Cancer Challenge 5K Run/Walk during the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March. Each Champion led their own team and fundraised individually. As a team, they also create social media campaigns. Recently, they partnered with DuClaw Brewing on their “Give A Crap” campaign to fundraise and share each champion’s personal story around colorectal cancer.

Justin was 8 years old when his mother passed away from colon cancer. Seeing at a young age how the disease affected his mom and their family, he is very keen to spread the word on the importance of early detection. Because his mother was not screened prior to her diagnosis, his main goal is to push the message of colorectal cancer screening. Justin notices that individuals without a family history of colorectal cancer are not as motivated to schedule a colonoscopy. They sometimes push it off until they are required to receive one, which could potentially be deadly for some. He emphasizes building a level of comfort around the topic, citing the “Give A Crap” challenge as an example, where they spoke openly about the elephant in the room.

Justin and the rest of the CCF Champions are always on a lookout for opportunities to partner with and help further colorectal cancer research and treatment through fundraisers and also spreading awareness.

 

Kenadi Kaewmanaprasert  is a Colon Cancer Prevention Intern with the Colon Cancer Foundation.

Mom, wife, realtor, runner, cellist, and colon cancer survivor for five and a half years. Suzanne Miller was taken aback when she was diagnosed with Stage I colon cancer at the age of 40. Colorectal cancer screenings start at 45 years for average-risk adults. She was in good health, trained for marathons, and ate well. Luckily, she was able to undergo surgery on November 18, 2016, to remove the cancer. 

Suzanne realized she aspired to turn this event in her life into something good rather than dwelling on the fact that she had cancer. Since her surgery, on the 18th of each month, she spreads awareness by posting on Instagram and Facebook to remind individuals to “keep their rear in the clear.” Everyone who is over 45, under 45 with symptoms, or has a family history of colon or rectal cancer should get screened for colorectal cancer. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer should start screenings at 40 years or 10 years prior to the earliest diagnosis age in their family.

Survivor and Colon Cancer Awareness Advocate

Suzanne came across the Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF) while she was researching for a marathon to run in New York while raising money for a charity. She reached out to the Foundation and planned to run in the 2020 marathon, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That didn’t dampen Suzanne’s spirit. She completed the marathon in her hometown and raised the money with support from her friends and family members who participated in the run. She looks forward to running again in the 2023 Colon Cancer Challenge.

This past February, as a CCF Champion, Suzanne and her husband were invited to attend the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Arizona. She represented CCF and was able to meet 90 other like-minded individuals who shared her passion to make a difference and prevent early onset of colon cancer. Inspired to raise money and awareness in her hometown, Suzanne partnered with her husband’s golf club to hold a fundraising golf tournament on May 16, 2022. She was supported in her efforts by her friend, a 10-year colon cancer survivor who also works to spread colorectal cancer awareness. The event had 10 sponsors, 13 teams, and 20 hole sponsors that covered most of the costs. Half of the profits will go to their local nonprofit, CRC Life, and the other half will go to CCF.

Suzanne emphasizes that people need to be more comfortable discussing colon cancer, as they do other topics. Ever since she began raising awareness on social media, Suzanne has received messages from individuals when they received a colonoscopy, got a polyp removed, or discovered they have a family history of colon cancer. Through her experience as a young, healthy woman diagnosed with colon cancer, she brings attention to the fact that cancer does not discriminate. She always tells individuals to remind their friends and family to get a colonoscopy. “Even having one person find out that they do not have cancer is a win,” she says. Suzanne loves that we live in a world where we can speak our mind, while being kind and courteous, and have people that listen and don’t discount the matter at hand. 

 

Kenadi Kaewmanaprasert is an intern with the Colon Cancer Foundation.