Abimbola ‘Bim’ Fernandez, daughter of gem magnate Chief Aduke O Fernandez, is selling garments from a private collection that will benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

Sale of vintage haute couture garments will benefit Colorectal Cancer Alliance

Abimbola ‘Bim’ Fernandez, daughter of gem magnate Chief Aduke O Fernandez, is selling garments from a private collection that will benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

Abimbola ‘Bim’ Fernandez, daughter of gem magnate Chief Aduke O Fernandez, is selling garments from a private collection that will benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

The Real Real, an online luxury consignment shop, is selling more than 800 garments from a private collection—including fashions from Valentino, Chanel, and Oscar de la Renta—that will benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

The couture collection, titled “The Collection of Chief Aduke O Fernandez,” is owned and curated by Abimbola ‘Bim’ Fernandez, whose mother, Chief Aduke O’ Fernandez, passed away from colon cancer in 2013.

The collection comprises one-of-a-kind vintage designer gowns and a ready-to-wear selection made for Abimbola Fernandez’s mother by top fashion houses. Garments were worn among world dignitaries, such as President Nelson Mandela, President Dos Santos of Angola, and Prince Rainier III.

Abimbola Fernandez is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the garments to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. Fashionistas interested in viewing items for sale from the collection can visit (click on the “shop” tab).

“The Alliance is deeply grateful for this act of charity by Bim, who is a true ally,” said Michael Sapienza, CEO. “As seen here, fashion can be a powerful force for good in the world that can also raise awareness and funds to benefit patients across the country.”

Abimbola Fernandez’s mother married her father, Ambassador Deinde Fernandez, in 1982. Her father was a diplomat and ambassador to the United Nations for the Central African Republic. He was also the country’s prime minister of foreign affairs. Together, Deinde Fernandez and Chief Aduke O’ Fernandez built a gem and precious metals empire. Deinde Fernandez passed away in 2015.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of death related to cancer in the U.S., but it is highly treatable if detected early. In 2017 alone, over 135,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

About the Colorectal Cancer Alliance

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colorectal cancer. Working with our nation of passionate allies, we diligently support the needs of patients and families, caregivers, and survivors, eagerly raise awareness of preventative screening, and continually strive to fund critical research. As allies in the struggle, we are fiercely determined to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime. For more information, visit

What are the differences between colon cancer and rectal cancer?

Colon cancer and rectal cancer are often grouped together because they have a lot in common—including some symptoms—but they are different, depending on where they originate. Dr. Philip Parks, Head of Medical Affairs at Exact Sciences, provides more information in this Q&A.

What is the difference between colon and rectal cancers?

The greatest difference lies is the anatomy of the body and gastrointestinal tract. While the colon and rectum are both part of the large intestine, the colon is approximately five feet long and the rectum is the last five to six inches of the colon that connects to the anus. There is a trend over the last few decades of slightly decreasing incidence in colon cancer in older individuals. However, there is a recent trend of increasing incidence of cancers of the distal colon and rectum in individuals under the age of 50. Most of these cases in younger individuals occur in people who are in their 40s and, in general, these cancers in younger individuals are more aggressive. There are common symptoms for colon and rectal cancer (bleeding, pain, changes in stool) and there are also some unique symptoms for colon and rectal cancer.

How do you diagnose colon versus rectal cancer?

While many people may be familiar with colonoscopy as a common form of screening for colon and rectal cancers, there are also non-invasive options for screening, including a stool DNA test, fecal immunochemical tests, and CT colonography. Major guidelines encourage patients and healthcare providers to select the best screening test for the patient by talking about the options. Knowing your risk factors and getting screened are the keys to diagnosing colon and rectal cancer early, when they are most treatable. If caught early, the survival rate for colorectal cancer is 90 percent—as opposed to less than 10 percent if caught in the latest stage.

Is one cancer more serious (or aggressive) than the other?

Again, anatomy plays a role. The stage of cancer—or how much the cancer has spread—is one of the most important ways to define severity. Overall, the rectum is much shorter than the colon and in a tighter spot in the body, making it potentially easier for the cancer to spread to surrounding tissue. In general, rectal cancer can be more difficult to treat and cure and may recur for as many 55 percent of people.

Are treatments for colon cancer and rectal cancer the same?

Depending on the diagnosis and progression (“stage”) of the disease, surgery and/or chemotherapy may be options to treat both colon and rectal cancers. One difference is radiation therapy, which is not commonly used to treat colon cancer; however, radiation may be used to treat rectal cancer.

What is the benefit of screening and early diagnosis?

One of the most important public health challenges is that millions of individuals are not up to date and current with colorectal cancer screening guidelines. Because of the “screening gap,” colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. among men and women combined, claiming more than 50,000 lives each year. The good news is that through early detection, nine out of 10 people survive—as opposed to only one in 10 if the cancer is caught in the latest stage.

Learn about colorectal cancer prevention and screening here, and consider donating to the Colon Cancer Alliance to advance our work to support the needs of patients and families, caregivers, and survivors; to raise awareness of preventative screening; and to help fund critical research. 

Statement on the Senate’s GOP Healthcare Bill by Colon Cancer Alliance CEO, Michael Sapienza

The release of the Senate’s proposed bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has finally arrived, and this could mean less coverage and higher premiums for Americans nationwide with cancer.

Rewriting the U.S. health insurance system is a massive legislative initiative and should not be taken lightly. Close to 135,000 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed in 2017 alone, and over 50,000 people will lose their lives to the disease. Healthcare is more than one-sixth of our economy and access to health insurance is a leading predictor of whether you will survive a cancer diagnosis.

Higher costs coupled with less care, in a nation where 1 in 5 Americans are dependent upon Medicaid, does not make sense for the American people.

The administration stated they hoped for a measure that had “heart in it.” This bill does not fit that measurement. The proposed legislation proves what we feared most for healthcare and the cancer community: A significantly more uninsured population and long-term cuts to vulnerable, low-income Americans.

As the largest patient advocacy organization dedicated to the prevention of colorectal cancer, we vehemently encourage Congress to present a healthcare plan that will provide high quality affordable health care for all Americans.

A New Lunar Mission

On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy told Congress his administration was committed to putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. The human effort this would require dwarfed virtually every initiative attempted before then, and only the construction of the Panama Canal and Manhattan Project would cost more. In 1961, the world lacked the technology to achieve a lunar landing; but through research, innovation and an unwavering commitment to the goal, on July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong planted the Stars and Stripes on the moon.                                                   

Last month, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden to lead a new lunar mission that, if successful, would benefit humankind in ways far beyond space exploration. Themed “the Moonshot,” it is a new national initiative to work toward a cure for cancer and includes plans to funnel $1 billion into the project. Obama’s mission to “make America the country that cures cancer once and for all” is one all Americans should embrace. One out of every two men and one out of every three women will get cancer in their lifetime. Every single day 1,600 Americans die from cancer and colon cancer is the second leading cause of these deaths.

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Congress Repeals the Affordable Care Act (Again)—Now What?

Unless you have been spending your days with Matt Damon on Mars, you are aware that Congressional Republicans don’t think too highly of the Affordable Care Act, AKA “Obamacare.” They have voted 59 times to repeal it and, just in case you weren’t sure where they stood, this month was number 60. What was different this time is that it made it to the President’s desk, where in a move surprising no one, it was vetoed. Republican leaders stated that the point here was to show the public what could happen if they win the White House in November.

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The Pink Tsunami

Just last month, 300 pound NFL linemen took to the gridiron to do battle while sporting hints of pink in their uniforms. Throughout “Pinktober,” products like cosmetics and cleaners, lotions and laxatives supported breast cancer awareness. While some have criticized what they see as an over commercialization noting that breast cancer awareness month itself was even started by a pharmaceutical company, the positive impact on women’s health has been dramatic as early diagnosis of breast cancer has led to significant improvements in five year survival rates for those diagnosed.

Like many national movements, this tsunami-like wave of awareness began as a small ripple. The notion of using a colored ribbon as a social cause symbol began in the 1970’s when the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” inspired Penny Laingen, wife of an Iran hostage, to use a yellow ribbon to show support for her husband and the other hostages. The initial color for breast cancer awareness was actually peach and created by Charlotte Hayley, a breast cancer survivor who handed out the ribbons in a grassroots effort. Then in 1991, cosmetics mogul Evelyn Lauder, as a guest editor for SELF magazine, wanted to work with Hayley and have the ribbons at cosmetic counters; Hayley declined thinking this was too commercial, so lawyers for SELF recommended changing the color. In the fall of 1991, volunteers for Susan G. Komen gave out pink ribbons at a race in New York City and the rest is history.

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What Cancer Patients Need To Know About “Biosimilars”

In 1984, Congress passed what is commonly referred to as Hatch-Waxman, a bill intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs by making generic versions available after an exclusivity period. However, one group of medicines, called biologics, was excluded from the bill. Many of the medicines used to treat colon cancer, such as Avastin and Erbitux, are biologics and so there are not lower cost versions available; however, that may be about to change.

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