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Elika's Story

As told by Rich Confalone


Funding to Detect Colorectal Cancer Earlier

The Elika Anne Hemphill Memorial Fund, established by Rich Confalone in 2022, seeks to:

  • Accelerate young-onset CRC research. Colorectal cancer research is greatly underfunded compared to less deadly cancers. The Fund will support innovative research projects that could understand the causes behind young-onset colorectal cancer and identify ways to prevent it. 
  • Increase prevention awareness among young people. Young-onset colorectal cancer is on the rise and is expected to be the leading cause of cancer deaths among young people by 2030. Preventing and catching this disease early is vital. The Fund will alert primary care physicians and younger populations to the risk and advocate for prevention.  
  • Provide support to caregivers and families. Patients and caregivers faced with young-onset colorectal cancer are often at a critical point in their lives, raising children, and building their careers. Children faced with a parent's diagnosis and potential loss may encounter an immense emotional burden. The Fund will provide support for caregivers and the families of young-onset patients.
  • Promote a healthy colon lifestyle. The causes behind young-onset colorectal cancer are under investigation, but researchers have identified potential drivers of the disease, including unhealthy diets and sedentary behavior. The Fund will promote lifestyles that encourage health and well-being. 

Your gift is a meaningful way to support the national nonprofit Colorectal Cancer Alliance and honor Elika’s memory. 

In Her Own Words

Do you remember that Donny & Marie song from the close of their old TV show? Despite some memory loss due to chemo, I still remember all the words.

"May tomorrow be a perfect day, may you find love and laughter along the way, may God keep you in his tender care, ‘til he brings us together again."

I love the inference in the song that God only need watch over us until we’re back with Donny & Marie for the next show.

In any case, I do like the words to the song, and I hope above all, that whoever it is that’s watching over us keep you and yours in good health, good spirits and good humor.

⁠— Elika, from her online essays


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