Newswise — Yesterday Fight Colorectal Cancer rang the NASDAQ opening bell alongside survivors and partners from the Cologuard Classic, a PGA TOUR Champions event in Tucson, Ariz. and also from the Times Square NASDAQ tower on the heels of March, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Today, the country’s leading advocacy organization is launching into a month-long awareness campaign alongside survivors and their loved ones, including survivor Kevin Jonas, Sr., and his wife Denise, showing it takes courage to fight cancer.
The Jonas family is joining Fight Colorectal Cancer by speaking out about Kevin’s diagnosis. The family was featured in People Magazine last week and this week they are flexing a #StrongArmSelfie on social media to show their support for the cause. For every post or share with the #StrongArmSelfie hashtag, Fight Colorectal Cancer will receive $1, up to $55,000. This year’s hashtag campaign sponsors include Bayer Healthcare, Fujifilm, Myriad Genetics and Taiho Oncology.
“We’re so honored that Kevin and Denise have joined our community and so eagerly gotten involved with our Fight CRC family so their story can encourage others who may also be delaying their screening,” said Anjee Davis, president of Fight CRC.“
Jonas, Sr. was diagnosed with stage II colorectal cancer in spring 2017 at age 52 after pushing aside symptoms like bleeding, fatigue and abdominal pain. He delayed screening when it was recommended at age 50 and because of that, he’s now passionate about getting others, especially men, to get into the doctor and not delay what turned out to be for him, life-saving screening. Jonas, Sr. said:
“I feel blessed that my screening detected my cancer at stage II. I ignored symptoms for years. I thought it was indigestion, heartburn, cramps, growing old, stress, etc. I delayed my first colonoscopy for two years. I am so thankful I went in to finally have the screening. It has been a difficult year with surgeries and complications but it could have been much worse if I had waited any longer.”
Jonas’s efforts alongside Fight Colorectal Cancer are part of the organization's awareness campaign One Million Strong, which empowers individuals also impacted by colorectal cancer who are openly sharing their stories both online and in person. A group of 25 ambassadors volunteered to put a “face” to the disease and will be featured in a series of videos and blog posts by Fight Colorectal Cancer this March showing other survivors, caregivers, friends and medical professionals how to “fight with courage.”
“If we would’ve known that a colonoscopy was recommended at age 50, maybe our story would be different,” said Elsa Gibson, a Fight CRC ambassador who lost her dad to the disease in 2016. “Dad graciously accepted his diagnosis and never lost his smile despite all the suffering we went through. I know that dad would have loved to see that his journey was not in vain and we continue to fight with courage everyday.”
Research shows that 23 million Americans have not yet been screened for colorectal cancer, but need to be. It’s also been shown that personal stories are motivators for the unscreened.
“Numerous people have come to me and told me that they had their screening because of my story,” said Jonas. “My hope is that this number can increase as I work with Fight CRC to bring awareness to as many people as possible. We can't let fear or pride keep us from doing something that could save our lives. My screening saved my life.”
The One Million Strong campaign will be a part of several upcoming events and activities throughout March - Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month:
March 8 - Colorectal Cancer Screening Coast to Coast: Driving toward 80%
A “blue carpet” event featuring celebrities, advocates and experts, some of them including actor Luke Perry and country music artist Craig Campbell, will educate and highlight the importance of screening. Fight Colorectal Cancer is presenting this event alongside the American Cancer Society and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, with support from Mayo Clinic, Exact Sciences and UPS. The event will be broadcasted live from Smashbox Studios in Culver City, Ca. from 1-2:30 PT on March 8 via Facebook.com/MayoClinic and Facebook.com/AmericanCancer, as well as on Fight CRC’s Instagram, @FightCRC. Visit CRCCoast2Coast.org for details.
March 18-20 - Fight Colorectal Cancer’s Annual Call-on Congress
Over 150 advocates will ascend Capitol Hill to advocate for policies that reduce barriers to colorectal cancer screening, fund research and keep the best interests of patients first in healthcare reform. Visit CallonCongress.org for details.
March 20 - Hill Briefing from Washington, D.C.
Survivor and race car driver Scott Lagasse, Jr. will join American College of Gastroenterology’s Dr. Mark Pochapin, Fight Colorectal Cancer President Anjee Davis, Dr. Lisa C. Richardson, Director of the CDC Division ofCancer Prevention and Control and Dr. Rich Wender, Chief Cancer Control Officer of the American Cancer Society, to discuss current screening rates and the plan for the 80% by 2018 effort beyond March. The briefing will be broadcast live via Facebook.com/FightCRC.
March 30 - NBA Stadiums go Blue for Colorectal Cancer Awareness
Both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Portland Trail Blazers will be hosting Colorectal Cancer Awareness Nights alongside Fight Colorectal Cancer and other partners on March 30.
Those interested in getting involved in Fight Colorectal Cancer’s awareness events are encouraged to visit WeAreOneMillionStrong.org. For those ready to take immediate action, post a #StrongArmSelfie on social media and sign the petition at FightCRC.org/FightWithCourage.
The One Million Strong campaign is generously supported by the following organizations: Boehringer Ingelheim, Exact Sciences, Fujifilm, Genentech, Merck, No-Shave November and Taiho Oncology.
About One Million Strong
One Million Strong is Fight Colorectal Cancer’s movement uniting the over one million survivors of colorectal cancer and their loved ones to get behind a cure and prevent future cases. As an advocate community, we set out to change the impact of colorectal cancer for millions of others. We provide education, resources and tools to explain the disease is preventable with screening, and highly beatable and treatable if caught at an early stage. One Million Strong empowers survivors, caregivers and loved ones to share their stories, raise awareness, advocate for policy change and support research. It’s determined to stop the second-leading cause of cancer deaths from taking more lives. For more information, visit WeAreOneMillionStrong.org.
About Fight Colorectal Cancer
Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) is a trusted national nonprofit advocacy organization fighting for a cure. It was founded in 2005 by Nancy Roach, a patient advocate who witnessed the need for colorectal cancer advocacy after her mother-in-law’s diagnosis. The organization plays an important role in rallying colorectal cancer advocates to action. Fight CRC is known for activism and patient empowerment throughout patient, academic, political, scientific, medical and nonprofit communities. With a mission focused on advocacy, research, patient education and awareness, the organization serves advocates in every state of the U.S. and many others around the world. Fight CRC is rated Platinum by nonprofit monitoring group GuideStar and is a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator. To learn more, visit FightCRC.org.