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Michelle Benaim Memorial Fund

Impact Report

With support from the Michelle Benaim Memorial Fund, the Alliance has implemented multifaceted national campaigns to raise awareness of colorectal cancer.


The Michelle Benaim Memorial Fund supports low and no-cost colorectal cancer screening for people who could not otherwise afford or would not have access to screening. Screening is the primary way to reduce incidence of colorectal cancer. 

Lisa, age 58: "Without the assistance of your colonoscopy program, I would not have been able to afford my colonoscopy. As a person who only works part-time and can’t afford medical insurance, I’m very thankful for this program. Screening is a top priority for me since I have a family history of cancer."


In 2021, an estimated 149,500 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer – a deadly but preventable disease – yet a third of at-risk adults have not taken the step to get screened. Fear, misinformation, financial barriers, and lack of understanding for alternative screening methods stand in the way of a potentially life-saving screening for thousands of people every year. Utilizing the Michelle Benaim Memorial Fund, the Alliance has implemented several multifaceted national campaigns to raise awareness of the power of screening.

“Don’t Assume” Awareness Campaign | Washington, D.C.

“Tomorrow Can’t Wait” | Washington, D.C.

“Screening During COVID-19” | Nationwide


Understanding why colorectal cancer is on the rise in those under the age of 50 remains a mystery. In 2020, the Alliance funded a new research grant using proceeds from the Michelle Benaim Memorial Fund, The Role of the Microbiome and Immunity in Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer, to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH. She is investigating how the microbiome is different in CRC patients diagnosed at an age younger than 50 years old, compared to older patients and healthy individuals, and then examining whether those differences lead to worse tumor growth and weakened immunity against cancer, particularly among the youngest patients in their 20s and 30s. Findings from Dr. Ng’s project will provide a better understanding of what an “unfavorable” microbiome is within each decade of life, and what impact that has on the body’s immune system to protect against CRC. The knowledge will then be used to discover new ways to change the microbiome to improve the immune response against CRC and develop more precise ways to screen and treat people at different stages of life.

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