Elika Anne Hemphill Memorial Fund
A Legacy that Sparkles
Elika Anne Hemphill was a beloved mother, wife, daughter, and friend. With limitless charm and wit, she dedicated her life to building stronger communities and supporting people in need, especially homeless children. Every day, she woke up with an earnest desire to make lives better, and she succeeded by pounding on doors, telling it like it was, and refusing “no.”
Elika had a sparkle about her and the looks of classic beauty — qualities that would catch anyone’s attention. But her generous and thoughtful heart, her loving soul, her gift with the written word, and her desire to accept all people made her truly shine.
Family and friends were the cornerstones of Elika’s life. After she was diagnosed with young-onset colorectal cancer in 2006, Elika navigated treatment with grace and grit, always wearing a smile for those she loved while privately enduring mental hardship.
Elika passed away on November 7, 2008, at age 41, leaving behind three children and an enduring legacy that the Elika Anne Hemphill Memorial Fund further strengthens. The fund supports programs to reverse the rise of young-onset colorectal cancer. By donating, you are helping to keep Elika’s sparkle alive and find a cure to this disease in our lifetime.
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