Our Hero of the Month features inspiring individuals who are going above and beyond in the fight against colon cancer. This month we’re honoring Karen Eizman. After losing her best friend to colon cancer, she set her mind to making a difference in the space and heightening awareness of this disease in her hometown of Philadelphia. She’s used her creative genius to get her community involved during National Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Dress in Blue Day in March, and this year, she is asking you to get involved, too. Meet Karen and get inspired by what she has accomplished.
My name is Karen Eizman. My former significant other and best friend, Ray Moore, died of colon cancer at just 47 years old. He was diagnosed with the disease 13 months before he passed. During his cancer journey, I went to many of his doctor appointments with him and we spent a great deal of time together. I’m glad I was able to be there for my dear friend while he fought this disease.
After going through this experience, I decided I was going to get involved. I wanted to make sure people knew this disease exists and how common – yet preventable! – it is. So, in March 2013, during National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, I created the Raymond J Moore Memorial Colon Cancer Awareness Zumbathon® and Fundraiser. I did some research and chose the Colon Cancer Alliance as the beneficiary of my fundraising because I liked what they stood for. While creating this event and becoming part of the cause, I uncovered a newfound passion: promoting colon cancer awareness.
By attaching Ray’s name to my event, I had all the motivation I needed to make it happen. It also excited me to include and get help from his family – together we have been able to celebrate Ray’s life and honor his journey. A Zumbathon® was the perfect opportunity to bring friends and family together to dance, exercise and have fun for a meaningful cause that is so close to my heart. And what better time to get involved than during Colon Cancer Awareness Month?
I can’t believe I am currently planning the third Raymond J Moore Memorial Colon Cancer Awareness Zumbathon ® and Fundraiser! I was a bit intimidated at first, but through the years, I have found a simple formula for putting the event together successfully. Once I started diving in, I was surprised at all of the support I got and how naturally the event came together. One of my tricks is always remembering to share with others what you’re doing. When people ask how we are or what we’ve got going on, it’s natural to respond with “not much,” but when I share, I find people may have an idea or something to contribute. And of course, you don’t get anything without asking. That’s how I manage to get all of the items I use as raffle and 50/50 prizes. I also set up a page on the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Dress in Blue Day website to advertise the event and house donations.
I didn’t want to stop at the Zumbathon®, so in light of March, I also hold a Dress in Blue Day at work. The people I work with love participating in something that brings us all together. I’ve learned that sometimes, all it takes is asking and you’ll be surprised how supportive your friends and coworkers can be! We wear blue, pose for pictures and together, help teach others about this important cause. Not only that, but our event at work gives those who have been impacted by colon cancer a direct way to get involved and honor and remember their loved ones.
So here is what I am asking of you this March – get involved. Do something, big or small; bold and seen by thousands or simple with just a few people. Take a #CRCSelfie on Dress in Blue Day and submit it to the Dress in Blue Day photo contest, ask a local business to support a pin-up campaign for March (download kits from the Colon Cancer Alliance), turn a local landmark blue or hold an awareness or fundraising event. You don’t have to create an event all on your own – ask others to help. It may be intimidating, but when you share what you’re creating, people see an opportunity and they want to become part of a community impacting people’s lives and creating something good.
If you ever want to chat or share, stop by Colon Cancer Awareness Community – Facebook and Twitter pages I created that support the promotion of colon cancer awareness. Share breakthroughs and challenges, exchange ideas, request or give advice. This March, my dream is to see this disease eliminated as a top cancer killer. We’re in this together; please join me!
To get involved with Dress in Blue Day and March, visit dressinblueday.org. And don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have additional questions about colon cancer screening or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help.