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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.