In 2005, Anita Mitchell and Carmen Mitchell (unrelated), stage 4 colon cancer patients, met through their Chemo therapy nurse and became instant friends. Anita and Carmen were each diagnosed with colon cancer in their early 40’s, well below the age of 50 when routine screening is recommended.
They both had family histories of colon cancer, but they were both unaware of this history until after they were diagnosed. Had they known, they could have been screened in time to either prevent the cancer from developing, or to detect it at an earlier, more treatable stage.
Armed with their new knowledge, the friends became members of the Colon Cancer Task Force, and soon began contemplating the formation of an independent nonprofit organization. Their goal? To educate the public about colorectal cancer screening and the role of family history. Anita and Carmen’s shared mission was to raise awareness about screening, family histories involving colon cancer, and to ultimately prevent other people from developing this disease. Unfortunately, Carmen Mitchell passed away on March 8, 2006, before her dreams were realized. Anita Mitchell created “Dress in Blue Day for Colon Cancer Awareness” in 2006, and in 2007 she dedicated it to Carmen’s memory. In 2009, Colon STARS partnered with the Colon Cancer Alliance to make this a nationwide awareness event.
Colon STARS was incorporated as a Washington nonprofit corporation on May 20, 2008 for the purpose of continuing the work started by the Colorectal Cancer Task Force (the “Task Force”), a committee comprised of over 13 public agencies, individuals and nonprofit organizations, including the Washington State Department of Health and the City of Seattle and King County Departments of Health. The Task Force, formed in 2001, is a committee of the Washington Comprehensive Cancer Control Partnership, a public–private partnership that is working to reduce cancer incidence and mortality. The Task Force was charged with reducing mortality from colorectal cancer in Washington by increasing colorectal cancer screening and by increasing the capacity of the health care system to perform high-quality colorectal cancer screening. STARS is a member of Washington Comprehensive Cancer Control Partnership.
Colon STARS’ mission is to save lives by educating people on the importance of colorectal cancer screening.
Vision Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. Our vision is to provide exceptional, quality information to every life we touch.
Goals • Increase people’s awareness about the benefits of being screened for colorectal cancer.
• Provide support to families in the earliest phases of a loved one’s treatment.
• Broaden the level of prevention, screening and treatment resources that are currently available to under served populations.
• Increase colorectal cancer screening rates.
• Assist patients in navigating the medical system to ensure that they receive the best possible standard of care.
• Foster and promote collaborative relationships between health-care providers and patients to increase colorectal screening;