Thirteen years ago, Michael Moran and Maura Staback, came to the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute to create an initiative in memory of their mother, Helen Phillips, who passed from colon cancer in the summer of 2002. Helen didn’t have a colonoscopy and her family felt strongly that if she had, that she would still be with us. Together they created C.A.S.U.A.L. (Colon cancer Awareness Saves Unlimited Adult Lives) Day in March 2003. This campaign focuses on early detection and screening for colorectal cancer.
From those early days, Benco Dental has shown support, and in recent years the national dental distributor’s associates and its Benco Family Foundation continue to find new ways to champion this annual outreach, which receives support from individuals and corporate sponsors across the seven counties it serves.
“Unfortunately, almost everyone in these companies has someone very close to them with colon cancer. This is very personal. This event was begun in memory of Helen Phillips and (her name) remains on our logo. Her family came to the Cancer Institute after she passed … she didn’t have a colonoscopy and they felt strongly that if she had that she would still be with us,” said Karen Saunders, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute President.
“Our incidence and mortality rates here are much higher than the national average. People die too often, and too young, because of colon cancer. That is why the awareness created by this event is so important: the message is reminding people to get screened.”
Benco Dental associate Florence Marchesano reaffirmed this message.
“My mom passed away from colon cancer at 53. That’s actually why I suggested it to Benco,” said the Talent Specialist, who led the company’s efforts as a Team Captain.
Thirty-two Benco Dental associates purchased C.A.S.U.A.L. Day pins and T-shirts, which raised $685.00, and another initiative at the home office raised $175.00, according to Marchesano.
“We also raised money by hosting a Jeans Day at the home office in Pittston; associates pay $1 to wear jeans to work on March 31. The Benco Family Foundation graciously matched all the funds raised for a total donation to the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute in the amount of $1,720.00,” she said. Marchesano referenced the Benco Family Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the dental health and quality of life in our communities, locally and globally.
“We couldn’t do it without the team captains,” said Saunders. “They are the heart and soul of the organization; one person at each company and over 300 team captains in the region. They do a lot.”
Additionally, the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute would like to thank their sponsors for their support of C.A.S.U.A.L. Day.
Though C.A.S.U.A.L. Day has passed for 2016, the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute offers several opportunities through which people can support its mission, according to Amanda Marchegiani, the organization’s Community Relations Coordinator.
“This is one of four major events we host throughout the year. The Judi H Rock On event, a musical tribute created by the family of a local woman who died from breast cancer, is happening in October. Our Spirit of Hope celebration in November, organized by a board of 50 ambassadors, including local businesspeople, will recognize the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute’s 25th anniversary,” said Marchegiani.
“Cancer Survivors Day in September, at Kirby Park in Kingston and McDade Park in Scranton, provides intimate gatherings for cancer survivors, caregivers or anyone affected by cancer.”
For additional information regarding C.A.S.U.A.L. Day and how to support the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, visit: CancerNepa.org.