• Colorectal Cancer Info MAIN MENU
  • Screening & Prevention MAIN MENU
  • Patient & Family Support MAIN MENU
  • Get Involved MAIN MENU
  • Funding Research MAIN MENU
  • Our Mission MAIN MENU

Subscribe to the Newsletter

We continue to be inspired by the hundreds of volunteers who are out there on the front lines, spearheading efforts to put colon cancer on the map and changing the face of this disease. That’s why we started the Volunteer Spotlight feature – honoring and celebrating some of our most passionate, dedicated volunteers and sharing their stories so you can be inspired, too! This month, we’re celebrating Brian Kothe and Weez Altomari from our Denver Undy Run/Walk. From getting the word out before the event to leading day-of logistics, these two rock stars make the Denver Undy what it is. Get to know them!

Brian Kothe

How are you involved with the Undy Run/Walk?  

I am lucky enough to be involved with the Undy in Denver as both a committee member as well as the Volunteer Director and Race Day Logistics Lead.

Why did you get involved?   

I got involved to give back to the community and because of a family history of colon cancer on my mom’s side.

What is your favorite thing about the Undy? 

My favorite thing about the Undy and the reason that I keep coming back are the stories of hope, friendship, compassion and the fact that we are making such an impact on so many people’s lives.

What do you get out of your volunteerism?  

I don’t really think of it as what I get out of as much as what others do.  As a previous Physician Assistant I have always enjoyed the aspect of helping people and patients and educating them on how to improve themselves and those around them.  Volunteerism is making sure that people around us know that we care and that if enough people put themselves in positions to help, we can make a huge difference. I do get to have my four daughters and wife involved with the race and it has been fun over the last six years to see their involvement grow as well as their ability to see the difference they are making and the importance of everyone doing their part.

What would you like people to know about colon cancer?  

If people are proactive in their care, we can minimize the effects of this disease.  It is not something that we should be shy about or avoid talking about;  cancer is cancer – let’s beat them all!

 

Weez Altomari

How are you involved with the Undy Run/Walk?

I was the 2014 Denver Undy chairperson and will continue in that role in 2015. In 2013, I organized the Undy Kick-Off Party, and the year before I volunteered at the Colon Cancer Alliance booth.  I have been volunteering in some capacity since our two sons were in kindergarten and I am now retired, so a lot of years! And yes, I am too old to not be bold…helps me get away with a lot!

Why did you get involved? 

Our son Greg was diagnosed with colon cancer in April 2005 at age 34, at the prime of his life, at an invincible age, and passed away February 23, 2009, at age 37. WAY TOO YOUNG! Many, many stories to share about his journey and ours. Needless to say, a journey of much pain, chemo, radiation and many surgeries.

After Greg passed away, I had to do something with my overwhelming grief and sadness…something good. Something beneficial had to come from our son’s suffering. So I called the Colon Cancer Alliance and asked how I could volunteer locally. Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it. 

So in addition to being a mom, I became a M.O.M., a Mom on a Mission. My mission: to help raise awareness that one is never too young for colon cancer, that colon cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable, and I had a powerful story to share that just might make a difference in someone’s life.  I just had to do this.

What is your favorite thing about the Undy?

The Undy provides a reason, a venue, for survivors to be celebrated, and for others to run around in their “undies” to help raise awareness and monies for research and patient support. I LOVE seeing the teams in their outfits, their camaraderie, and spirit of letting go and having fun in the sun! The spirit of our son keeps me, our family and friends coming back. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

What do you get out of your volunteerism?

I get a sense of purpose, of doing something impactful in the Denver metro area, and closer to home in the lives of our sons’ friends and families. It feels good, like I’m right where I should be, and I’m meeting the most amazing people committed to this cause.  Being the chairperson of the Denver Undy is very challenging and tiring but also so rewarding and energizing.

What would you like people to know about colon cancer?  

Colon cancer is not a disease for those over 50 only; the incidence in young adults is on the rise and the stage of colon cancer may be more serious as well. Colon cancer is preventable with screenings, knowing the facts, signs, or symptoms of this cancer, and knowing personal risk factors because of family history. It is a cancer no one wants to talk about and Colon Cancer Alliance and Undy series are changing that!

Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have additional questions about screening or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help!  

Categories:

Related reading