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Karen Berube tells of the devastation felt by families when colorectal cancer does its worst. Her husband, Mark, died from the disease in July 2019 at age 56, leaving behind his wife and three children. 

“Cancer has been such a focus for everyone, and I know we’re working to get closer to a cure,” Karen says. “(Before Mark died), I had a good friend who grabbed my hand and said, ‘Make him hold on—we’re so close.’” 

But as Karen told her friend, “We’re not close enough.”

“I’ve seen what it does to families,” Karen says. “Cancer is powerful, and I think we have to do something about it. If I can spare even one family the pain we've suffered by helping to raise awareness, the efforts are worthwhile.”

In response, Karen is taking action so others do not have to feel the way she felt with Mark’s death, recently taking part in the Alliance’s “1 in 24” fundraising campaign. 

The campaign name comes from the average person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer, which is 1 in 24.

Karen, Mark, and family

Raising life-saving funds

When you create your 1 in 24 fundraiser, you commit to raising $250 in 24 hours —$10 from you and $10 from 24 of your friends. Many people sync their 1 in 24 fundraisers with Facebook,  Facebook, making it easy for friends and family to support the cause. -

“It was a really easy, quick campaign with a simple, powerful message for reaching out,” Karen says. “Because my husband suffered for eight years, a lot of our friends followed the journey and saw how having this disease is really life-altering for the entire family. It takes a toll.”

Mark was diagnosed in 2011. Well into treatment, he continued working as an aerospace engineer and volunteered as a little league coach, Karen says, adding that many of the people who came to his wake didn’t even know he was sick. 

“We had hoped to make $250, and we did that in just a couple of hours, all by posting the link to our fundraiser on Facebook,” Karen says. “I didn’t do any reach out or pre-warnings. From time to time, as we hit different milestones, we posted pictures of Mark or made a comment. Everyone was very supportive and reached out, so it was very easy.”

Mark and Karen

Get involved

Creating a 1 in 24 fundraising campaign is easy. You can learn more here, and then follow these three simple steps:

  1. Create your fundraising page and donate $10 to jumpstart your campaign.

  2. Ask 24 friends to donate $10 to your page by the end of the day.

  3. Share your success on social media.

Funds raised in your campaign support the Alliance’s life-saving programs to screen, care, and cure colorectal cancer. What difference can 24 hours of fundraising make?

  • One day can provide assistance to 50 helpline callers.

  • One day can fund a financial grant to a struggling family.

  • One day can provide transportation to and from treatment.

  • One day can fund stool-based screening tests for eight people.

Raising $250 from 24 people plus you is easy, and if many allies join the campaign, we can raise significantly more to provide resources and help to colorectal cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. 

Get involved

Hear more from Karen: 


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