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All nonprofits such as the Colorectal Cancer Alliance are legally obligated to have a board of directors. Often, board members are accomplished professionals from a mix of industries who advise on matters including law, finance, personnel, healthcare, and, of course, mission. 

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is fortunate to have the support of an outstanding board of directors, led by chairman John Backus. Backus is a colon cancer survivor, Stanford University School of Business graduate, and prominent technology investor and entrepreneur.

In part one of this series, we will introduce a few members of the board and offer a glimpse into the essential work they do to support our mission to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime. 

Sharon Seto 


Sharon Seto, to the right of Colorectal Cancer Alliance CEO Michael Sapienza, poses with a picture of her mother, Susan Lee, who was lost to colorectal cancer. This photograph was taken on February 14, 2019, at “An Evening With Hamilton,” a fundraiser for the Alliance arranged by Seto at the SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco. Seto and her husband David first entered prominence when they overhauled the busy but blighted Broadway-Columbus corridor in San Francisco through strategic redevelopment. As part of the effort, Seto commissioned the famous San Francisco Jazz Mural. The depiction of two cultures united by music became the most-photographed site in the city. Seto and her husband were also the principals of the largest pyrotechnical company in the USA, Red Devil Fireworks. Seto is highly involved with her community, leading numerous charitable initiatives. Seto joined the Alliance’s board of directors October 26, 2018. 

Scott Wilson 

Scott Wilson is an experienced business leader with more than twenty years experience in brand building, communications, corporate social responsibility, and regulatory affairs, mostly with Molson Coors Brewing Company, where Scott has held UK, European, and global leadership positions. Scott was diagnosed with stage IV (metastatic) colorectal cancer in August 2016 and declared NED (no evidence of disease) in August 2017 after colon and liver surgeries and an aggressive 40-week chemotherapy program. Allies will likely know Scott from his book, “Through the Window,” which he and his wife Jaione developed as he was in treatment. He is a committed colorectal cancer advocate and set up what is believed to be the first employer-led, blood-test based colorectal cancer screening of employees in partnership with Epigenomics. Scott works with the Alliance's Never Too Young Advisory Board and leads the colorectal cancer policy group in his home state of Colorado. He has donated all proceeds from his award-winning photography career to the Alliance. Scott and his wife have two children, Andrew and Alba. Scott joined the Alliance board of directors on June 21, 2019. 

Michael Aquilino 

Michael Aquilino, to the right of the woman in blue, began supporting cancer care projects at Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville, Maryland, when his late wife, Tammie, was battling cancer. His passion for cancer care is seen in the comprehensive services offered inside the Shady Grove Medical Center Aquilino Cancer Center, a source of pride and excitement for Aquilino. The center combines high-caliber doctors collaborating around the latest cancer research and clinical trials, elevating the hospital to another level, while offering the community access and proximity to top-notch care close to home. Michael became involved with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance after becoming friends with Michelle and Avi Benaim. As a caregiver, Michael is dedicated to ending this disease in our lifetime. Michael resides in Potomac, Maryland, and joined the Alliance board of directors on October 26, 2018. 

Dr. Edith Mitchell 

Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, FACP, FCPP, has spent her medical career helping individuals in medically underserved areas to realize that simple changes in lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on cancer care. Through her work, Dr. Mitchell has demonstrated the importance of community service and outreach, especially to those individuals who may not have the means to seek out more conventional medical advice. 

Dr. Mitchell’s research in breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers and other GI malignancies involves new drug evaluation and chemotherapy, development of new therapeutic regimens, chemoradiation strategies for combined modality therapy, patient selection criteria and supportive care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer. She travels nationally and internationally teaching and lecturing on the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies. 

Dr. Mitchell has authored and co-authored more than 100 articles and book chapters as well as many abstracts on cancer treatment, prevention, and cancer control. As a distinguished researcher, she has received many cancer research and principal investigator awards, including a recent Promise Grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation

She and husband, Delmar, have been married for 46 years and have two daughters, Dale and DeAnna; one granddaughter, Gabriella; and two grandsons, Jude and Luke. Dr. Mitchell joined the Alliance board of directors on February 22, 2019.



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