Meet Jessica Wu. Her mother Joyce lost her battle with colorectal cancer on October 7, 2007, at the age of only 49 years old. This Saturday, Jessica will continue her tradition of raising funds for the CCAC and spreading awareness in her community, all in honour of her incredible mother.
I have. Although, my celebration may be a little different from most. You see, I lost my mother, Joyce L. Wu, to Colorectal Cancer in October, 2007. Mom was only 49 years old, and I was 24. We were both ‘too young’ to be experiencing this type of a farewell.
Mom wasn’t someone who should’ve gotten cancer, I remembered people saying. She was the Captain of her volleyball team in school, exercised regularly, kept a very healthy diet and chose fresh food, and even took up Tai Chi weekly. There was no family history we could find that hinted my Mom may have been a candidate for cancer. At age 46, though, Mom told us the news: the lump our family doctor found was malignant … and she had Colorectal Cancer. She was told that screening for Colorectal Cancer was not performed until people are 50 years old in Ontario. Mom battled Colorectal Cancer bravely for the next three years, and although it rendered her completely motionless from her neck downwards and riddled her body with relentless pain, Mom did not want to be admitted to Palliative Care until 4 days before she passed. Mom was always a fighter and a true warrior.
Nearly four years have passed, and each year, I have the opportunity of continuing to celebrate Mother’s Day along with everyone else, even though Mom is no longer with us. After emptying my savings account to buy a small townhouse after Mom’s passing, I stumbled upon an Annual Community Garage Sale event held by my townhouse corporation around Mother’s Day each year, in which all 548 townhouse units can participate. It’s a MASSIVE and very convenient way to sell, swap and find items. Ideas flowed and I began asking my co-workers, friends, family, and even my French and Piano students to donate any items they no longer needed to me for the Garage Sale, especially since Spring Cleaning was always around the corner. I housed all the donated items – from bikes to treadmills, sandboxes for kids to vacuum cleaners – in my garage and spare bedroom. On the morning of the Garage Sale, my brother and Dad helped to set everything up.
For the past three years, our family has continued this tradition to celebrate and remember Mom for Mother’s Day. Every year during the Annual Community Garage Sale, we ask around for donations of items (or proceeds) and donate every single penny from our Garage Sale to the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) in loving memory of Mom. The CCAC graciously sends me posters, wallet inserts, banners, and/or brochures annually for this event so that my brother and Dad can pass these out to all passer-bys and raise awareness for Colorectal Cancer. Given Mom’s healthy lifestyle, she wasn’t someone who “should’ve” gotten cancer, but she did. She wasn’t supposed to get screened for Colorectal Cancer until age 50, but she didn’t make it to 50. My family recognizes the importance of spreading the word about Colorectal Cancer to anyone and everyone, regardless of their age. The first year, we raised $320.95 in 4 short hours from our Garage Sale alone and my company matched this donation amount 100% – we wrote a cheque to the CCAC for a total of $642!
This year is no different for us as we celebrate Mother’s Day. Our Annual Community Garage Sale takes place Saturday, May 14th from 8AM – 1PM (rain or shine) for all 548 townhouse units, of which mine is but one. The CCAC brochures, wallet inserts and posters are ready to go. We would love to have more donations of items (items that aren’t sold are driven across the street and we give them all to Goodwill the same afternoon) and/or financial donations that morning, too. So please do stop by to support and encourage us, or make a donation to the CCAC for us! You can find our address on CCAC’s calendar of events: http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca/en/events-and-raising/ccac-events-calendar/
It is our dream that our humble Garage Sale will continue not only annually, but that it will become a city-wide event one day where families of those who have been affected from Colorectal Cancer will gather to not only remember, but truly celebrate our loved ones who so courageously battle this disease by raising awareness and funds for the Colorectal Cancer Association to further their mission and fund research we all so desperately need.
From the Wu Family, we wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day – truly, a day to celebrate all Moms, no matter where our Moms are.
- Jessica, Grant & Joseph Wu
Meet Nicole Chuchmach. Three years ago, she covered an astounding 780 kilometers in Sophie’s Run, an initiative in honour of her late mother. It was Sophie Cuchmach’s determination that inspired Nicole and her team to run from their hometown of Milton, Ontario to New York City. The following is an excerpt from Nicole’s journal.
This is an insert from my journal that I wanted to share to stress the importance of early screening for this treatable and beatable disease. Watching my mom die to colorectal cancer has forever changed both my life and the lives of my family.
“As I write that I am not ready to let her leave this earth, deep down I know that she is ready to go. She is no longer the mom that I remember. Her body has been invaded on the inside by a silent killer that has now surfaced to the outside. We all thought she developed shingles on her groin area. Shingles were our sign of hope but this slowly diminished when we realized that her cancer had surfaced on the outside instead. The silent killer is now mounting and escalating into a ravaging monster. This monster can no longer be contained and is killing my mom before my eyes. “
Losing my mom to colorectal cancer in 2006 is a day that I will never forget. I would give anything to hear her voice and to feel her hands as she would hug to comfort me or cheer me on to celebrate my successes. Although I struggled after her death, I now look to find the positive in remembering a lady that had an influence on my life and who continues to shine in the lives of others. Mother’s Day is bitter-sweet for me. I feel guilty that our family and my mom ignored the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer but I feel a sense of pride in educating the public in order to keep our loved ones (and our mothers) here with us longer. It is now my mission and my passion to prevent others from living the same fate that our family had to endure. To my mom… Happy Mother’s Day. I will never forget you and I promise to carry on your fight. For more information please visit www.sophiesrun.ca.
Colorectal cancer is not just “a man’s disease.” We work every day to fight this misconception among men and women alike, while mothers, daughters, wives and friends fight a brutal disease at nearly equal rates as fathers, sons and husbands.
This Mother’s Day, we would like to share some stories about courageous mothers and their experiences with colorectal cancer.
Write to me at email@example.com if you would like to pay special tribute to a special mum in your life.
If you’re familiar with our nutritional guidelines, you know that sweets should be an occasional treat- and the upcoming Calgary Marathon is just the right occasion!
From now until May 17th, place your order for Handmade Gourmet Biscotti by Vicky. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the CCAC via Michelle Graham Christoffersen, one of our GET YOUR BUTT SEEN running team members You can check out her fundraising process here.
There are four delicious flavours to choose from- Almond Butter & Chocolate Chip, Triple Chocolate, Lemon Cranberry and Trail Mix (mixed nut and fruit). The suggested minimum donation is $5 per package of four biscotti. We’ll be ordering a few to munch on after healthy meals!
Join Cookies for Cancer on Facebook and send a message to Michelle to place your order!
For more information about running and pledging for the CCAC in the Scotiabank Marathons (Calgary, Halifax, Vancouver, Toronto), contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know that the CCAC has a full-time Research & Education Specialist? Along with our Medical Advisory Board, this individual is a vital link between medical research and the many patients who come to our site seeking information about colorectal cancer screening, treatment and prevention. Below, you’ll find a selection of this month’s selected journal article summaries. A gift to you from our Research & Education Specialist! Click here to catch up on previous months’ selected articles.
- KRAS Mutations Match in Primary Tumour and Liver Mets
- Administering Folfox 6 with Avastin in Non-optimally resectable Liver Mets
- Effect of Simvastatin on Erbitux Resistance with KRAS Mutations
- Addressing the Hypersensitivity to Cold Caused by Oxaliplatin
- Venlafaxine for the Prevention of Oxaliplatin-Induced Neuropathy
- Stronger Chemo + Immune Boost May Help Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients
- Liver Resection in the Elderly
- Outcomes Are Affected by Recurrence Patterns After Liver Mets Surgery
- Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery in the Elderly
- Phase III Clinical Trial Using Theraspheres for Liver Mets
- Liver Mets Respond to Radiation Microspheres
- OncoDefender Can Assess Risk of Recurrence in Stage I/II Patients
- Automated Reminder System for Colonoscopy Deemed Effective
- Utilization of Virtual Colonoscopy Triples in the U.S.
- Providing Quality of Life at End of Life Study
- Stress of Cancer Makes it Difficult to Quit Smoking
- No Link Between ABO Blood Group & Risk of Colorectal Cancer
- Link Between Stem Cells and Colorectal Cancer
- CRC Groups Join Together to Offer Clinical Trial Matching in the U.S.
- A New Formula Developed to Help Determine Disease Free Survival
- Gene Discovered to Be Linked to Colorectal Cancer When Folate is Low
Cue Vivaldi’s Four Seasons- these works of art astound us!
Be sure to visit www.ccacpsa.com to vote on your favourites! Simply assign each entry a star rating (out of five). Don’t forget the video and audio categories!
In anticipation of the upcoming Scotiabank Charity Challenge runs, we’ve got a pretty fabulous bonus for running or walking on the CCAC’s “Get Your Butt Seen” team.
Want yours? The CCAC is one of the only national not-for-profit organizations for all five events across Canada:
- Montréal – Banque Scotia 21k de Montréal et 5k
- Halifax – Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon
MAY 20th to 22nd
- Calgary – Calgary Marathon
- Vancouver – Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5K
- Toronto – Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Make yourself a bowl of air-popped popcorn (see below!) and enjoy a screening of this year’s International Public Service Announcement Contest video entries. Rate the entries at www.ccacpsa.com (and submit your own!) but HURRY- the contest closes at midnight.
We hope there’s still lots of entries to come- there’s prize money $1,500 per category hanging in the balance!
This submission comes from Colon Cancer Alliance in the United States:
And this submission comes from the Jay family in Regina, Saskatchewan:
And a few creative high school students from Ohio gave us this great idea:
CCAC volunteer Nadia Afara brought us this punchy submission:
And this submission by Shawn Ritchie asks us, what’s in your pipes?
This submission by Hari Kapoor hit us hard:
And this submission from Alex Ostroff and friends pushed our buttons:
We were beside ourselves with this submission from Jeff Stevens:
And this submission by Pamela Podzorski and friends had us grooving!
The Health Benefits of Popcorn
What movie screening couldn’t be improved by the crunchy satisfaction of popcorn? Well if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight to reduce your colon cancer risk, you may wish to re-think your movie theatre snacks.
Don’t be tempted by the yellow glow of commercially prepared movie-theatre popcorn:
At Cineplex Entertainment — the largest chain in Canada with 1,328 screens — popcorn is now popped in non-hydrogenated canola oil, second best after air popped at home.
But the popcorn purchased by CSPI researchers weighed more than the company claims. After adjusting the serving size, a small popcorn with no topping had 480 calories.
A large untopped popcorn has 1,120 calories — half a day’s worth for most people, as well as 530 milligrams of sodium.
Health Canada recommends that adults consume less than 20 grams of saturated fat, and about 1,500 mg of sodium in an entire day based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Patrons who opt for five pumps of Becel topping on a large, 20 cup portion at Cineplex add 270 calories and four grams of saturated fat. They get 320 calories and 22 grams of saturated fat with five squirts of Lactantia butter topping.
“Movie theatre popcorn salt, fat get the thumbs down” CBC News, November 2009
But we said we would talk about the health benefits, didn’t we?
Popcorn can be a pretty decent low-calorie, low-fat snack when popped with air instead of oil. It’s naturally high in fibre and it’s sodium-free. Too bad we load the butter and salt on after the fact! Here’s a quick recipe from wholeliving.com that uses less fat and sodium but doesn’t scrimp on the flavour:
- Pop 1/2 cup of kernels in your air-popping machine.
- Stir together 1 1/4 teaspoons chilli powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons cumin, 1 tablespoon of finely-grated lime zest and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt.
- While still hot, toss popcorn in spice mixture and sprinkle with lime juice. Voilà!
Don’t start any all-popcorn crash diets any time soon, though- popcorn should still be considered an occasional treat, and fresh fruits & veggies should still be your first-choice snacks.
The Health Benefits of Yellow Popcorn by livestrong.com’s Nathalie Stein, nutrition consultant
Popcorn, retrieved from Wikipedia on March 9, 2011
Are you ready to Graffiti Get Down?
The event is being planned and executed by 2nd year Special Events Planning Students at George Brown College in Toronto, and we hear it’s going to be a blast!
GGD is all about the four pillars of hip hop (emceeing, DJ’ing, breaking, graffiti) and showcasing those pillars. Our purpose is to raise money for the George Brown College first year Special Events Students, and this year an amazing 20% of the proceeds will support Sophie’s Run, an initiative benefiting the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada.
Just four years ago, one of our professors at George Brown College, Nicole Chuchmach’s mother Sophie, passed away from colorectal cancer. During her mother’s illness and to help with the pain, Nicole started to run and she continued to run to help with the pain and grief of her mother’s passing. In 2008 Nicole started a charity, Sophie’s Run, to keep the legacy of her mother alive. Nicole and a team of runners, with the support of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, ran from Milton ON to NewYork City raising $175, 000 dollars in honour of Sophie.
We also want to honour Sophie, and the courageand strength of both her and Nicole, by donating 20% of our funds raised from GGD.
Please join these incredible young crusaders for a fab night of live urban culture featuring a breakdancing competition and graffiti art raffles. You can also see what it feels like to be bad-to-the-bone and create your own grafitti masterpiece on site. You’ll be supporting George Brown College Special Events Scholarship fund and Sophie’s Run, two very worthy causes!
You can reach Graffiti Get Down on their brand-new Twitter account, @GraffitiGetDown.