Patients Stepping Up

June 7, 2024 — We are excited to announce new roles for two COLONTOWN patients and PALTOWN staff members!

Tiffany Freeman, a stage III CRC patient, has been named PALTOWN’s Director of Operations and Finance, after serving as Operations Manager for the past 3 years.

Keith Hollingsworth, a stage IV CRC patient, will take on the new position of Empowered Patient Leader Program Coordinator. Keith is also a member of the COLONTOWN Cabinet, the team of patients and caregivers who manage PALTOWN’s COLONTOWN community. 

All our staff are patients and caregivers, bringing education and connection to thousands through their work every day. 

Guide for Skin Issues

May 30, 2024 — Now live on COLONTOWN University, a comprehensive guide to the skin issues colorectal cancer patients can experience – from rashes to hand and foot syndrome and more.

The guide includes patient perspectives, options for managing skin issues, and how to talk to your care team. 

New Trials Education Staff

May 15, 2024 — PALTOWN’s focus on clinical trials education gets a boost with the addition of two new staff members. 

Laure Chotel, a caregiver based in France, takes on the curation of the Alanna Project. This resource collects anonymized experiences from COLONTOWN members on clinical trials, including disease status, time on trial, and side effects.

Natalia Muñoz, a caregiver based in Ireland, comes on to the team with a background in biochemistry. She will serve as the Data Analyst and Research Librarian for PALTOWN’s new Trials Hub project. This repository will offer COLONTOWN members online access to all PALTOWN’s resources on current clinical trials, from DocTalks to the Alanna Project to published data curated and contextualized by Natalia.  

Look for the Trials Hub launch later this year!

Caregiver Resource Fair

May 7, 2024 — Caregivers are an integral part of all of PALTOWN’s programming. In 2024, half of the new members in COLONTOWN are caregivers, who often are the designated information seeker in families dealing with cancer.

Now available on COLONTOWN University, our latest Resource Fair, “Caring for the Caregiver,” features contributions from 15 organizations, all focused on the needs of caregivers. 

Meet COLONTOWN's Volunteer Coordinator

Ann Elliot

Ann Elliot

Volunteer Coordinator
I am a stage 4 patient, diagnosed in November 2018, two days before my 51st birthday. My treatment path included a partial colectomy to remove the tumor from my sigmoid colon, chemo, liver resection, and more chemo. I disconnected from the last chemo cycle in August 2019. Since then, I have shown no evidence of disease. On the five-year anniversary of my survival, a milestone that many stage 4 patients do not reach, I ran a half marathon to celebrate.
I joined COLONTOWN soon after my diagnosis. Connecting with other stage 4 patients and learning the language of my disease from my peers made all the difference in my mental wellbeing while going through treatments. But that is not enough for me. I feel compelled to use my voice to educate others and support patients and caregivers in this community. The first EPL I attended was in 2019. Some time later, I became an admin for WINDY CITY CREW and FLORA GARDEN (now called GASTRO GARDENS). In June 2023, I attended the EPL in Houston. Feeling energized from a weekend of education and connection, I soon proposed a new neighborhood to the cabinet, ZEN DEN. This neighborhood focuses on managing stress through yoga, meditation, breathwork, qigong, and other modalities. More recently, I have accepted the newly created role of Community Volunteer Coordinator. Developing ways to better support our amazing volunteers is a priority and I am excited to take on this challenge.

April 1, 2024 – PALTOWN’s COLONTOWN community runs on its patient and caregiver volunteers. Community members participate in our Empowered Patient Leader Workshops, and then step up to help admin one of COLONTOWN’s 100 groups, or contribute to the many education and support efforts that make COLONTOWN special.

Patient Ann Elliot will serve as COLONTOWN’s first Volunteer Coordinator, managing our more than 100 volunteers and providing tools and mentoring to help them help their neighbors. 

Superheroes Power COLONTOWN!

Feb 1, 2024 — Everything we do is powered by our patients and caregivers. In 2024, we are highlighting some of the many people who have done something truly extraordinary – taken their experience with colorectal cancer and transformed it into a mission to help thousands of others.

Each month, we’ll feature a different superhero, from the Knight of Knowledge to the Solution Seeker. Follow along as we introduce you to these amazing folks!

Education Team Presents Trials Workshop

Jan 20, 2024 — Education Program Director Julie Clauer, Scientific Director Dr. Manju George, and Program Manager Nancy Seybold presented the impact of PALTOWN’s Searching Safari Workshop at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology GI conference. 

The poster presentation looked at how this new program can reduce barriers for stage IV CRC patients interested in pursuing clinical trials. 

Clinical Trial Access Resource Fair

Dec 4, 2023 — Now available on COLONTOWN University, the trials access resource fair featured free-to-patient resources that enable additional paths to evidence-based investigational treatments.

Participating organizations provided details about their programs, which can help patients when relevant clinical trials do not seem to be available locally or participating in trials elsewhere seems unattainable.

New COLONTOWN Cabinet Member

Keith Hollingsworth

Keith Hollingsworth

COLONTOWN Cabinet Member, EPL Program Coordinator

I was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer on 5/5/21, have completed several surgeries and am currently on my 2nd line of chemotherapy.

When I heard those words “You have cancer” as you can imagine, my world flipped upside down. I immediately thought…”How long do I have.” I am a husband to my wife Casey of 15 years, as well as a father to my 2 sons Logan and Parker.

You can find yourself digging into a dark hole as a stage IV patient, while researching survival rates, treatment options etc. My nurse navigator recommended that I investigate the group “COLONTOWN.” This community has been a tremendous part of my treatment plan. They have helped me answer questions, seek advice, helped empower me to get a 2nd opinion, and helped me to become a better advocate for myself.

The Empowered Patient Leadership program offered me a way to give back to others that have helped me along my journey. I am now an admin for my local regional group, and part of the Empowered Patient Leadership team, as well as part of the COLONTOWN Cabinet.

Dec 1, 2023 — We are excited to welcome Keith Hollingsworth to the COLONTOWN Management Team. Keith joins the COLONTOWN Cabinet, the group of patients and caregivers who oversee the 130 neighborhoods of our community. Keith is a stage IV CRC patient, and is already a COLONTOWN group admin and part of the team that runs our Empowered Patient Leader Workshop program.

2023 PALTOWN Leadership Retreat

Nov 13, 2023 —As an entirely virtual organization, we try and get together in person once a year to plan for the coming year’s programs. We held our 2023 Retreat in the DC area this past weekend, working through a full agenda generating a wealth of ideas and energy for the future of PALTOWN. We also enjoyed the rare chance to do some team building, including the first annual PALTOWN Trivia Night. 

Searching Safari Trials Workshop Update

Searching Safari Workshop

Nov 8, 2023 — Our newest patient education project has been accepted as part of the program at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology GI Symposium!

We are so proud of our Education Team Lead, stage IV patient Julie Clauer, for developing this amazing resource. Julie and our Scientific Director, rectal cancer patient Dr. Manju George, will present “COLONTOWN Searching Safari: Education to remove barriers to pursue clinical trials for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.”

The team is currently developing an on-demand version of Searching Safari to expand its reach with our stage IV patient population.

Mental Wellness Resource Fair

Oct 10, 2023 – COLONTOWN’s new Resource Fair series continues with Mental Health & Wellness.

Partner organizations are invited to provide an introduction to their programs for patients and caregivers in these virtual events. The video and associated resource guides are then posted in COLONTOWN University for all to access. 

Landmark DocTalk on Liver Mets

Aug 28, 2023 — COLONTOWN members got  a first look at the PUMP trial in this panel discussion on August 30th.

Colorectal cancer patients with unresectable liver mets will find this a valuable discussion of an important new trial.

As with all our DocTalks, the video has been posted to the Lecture Hall in COLONTOWN University.

Surgery Resource Launches

Aug 24, 2023 — The latest module in COLONTOWN University’s popular CRC101 Learning Center focuses on surgery. 

This resource provides clear explanations of each major type of surgery offered to colorectal cancer patients, along with practical considerations, questions to ask your surgeon, and more!

PALTOWN Board Chair on AACR Podcast

July 17, 2023 –PALTOWN Board Chair Howard Brown discusses survivorship and cancer research on this episode of the “Believe in Progress” podcast from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Howard is a two-time stage IV cancer survivor, entrepreneur, published author, and member of COLONTOWN. He has served on PALTOWN’s Board of Directors since 2018, and became Chair in 2023.

Scientific Director Dr Manju George on Fear of Recurrence

June 3, 2023 — PALTOWN’s Scientific Director, Dr. Manju George, co-authored an article addressing fear of recurrence in cancer patients for a recent issue of the ASCO Daily News.  This publication from the American Society of Clinical Oncology reaches oncologists and other health care professionals.  We are proud of Dr. George’s reputation among CRC clinicians and researchers as a leading patient advocate!

Resource Fair for Kids' Programs Now in COLONTOWN University

May 24, 2023 — Check out our newest resource on COLONTOWN University: a roundup of programs for kids who parent has or had cancer. The resource fair, hosted by COLONTOWN’s Parents Talking Assocation group, featured presentations from 6 organizations, and the downloadable resource guide provides even more material.

PALTOWN Welcomes New Board Members

May 23, 2023 — Please join us in welcoming our new members of PALTOWN’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Leslie Cloud and Alexa Morell are colorectal cancer patients, and Susan Pfau and Jackie Robins bring experience as caregivers. All are part of our COLONTOWN community.

Get to know our Board!

PALTOWN's 2022 Annual Report Available

May 22, 2023 — PALTOWN has published its 2022 Annual Report. 

The Report features our programs, our people, and our finances.

This year, we remember three remarkable staff members – Jen Eldridge, Lindsey Musick, and Steve Schwarze. Each of them left a lasting impact on our programs and on everyone they touched in our community. 

New Diet and Lifestyle Resource

April 16, 2023 — The latest edition to COLONTOWN University is now live. The Diet and Lifestyle module in CRC101 covers eating, exercise, living with an ostomy, and working through treatment. Like all our content, this wonderful resource draws on the lived experience of thousands of COLONTOWN members! 

Meet the Mayor

April 1, 2023 —We are excited to introduce Stacey Runfola, COLONTOWN’s new Mayor. Stacey has been a member of COLONTOWN since 2011, as a caregiver for her husband Rick. After Rick passed away in 2014, Stacey remained an active part of COLONTOWN as it grew. She has been a leader of our caregiver neighborhoods and helped develop the Empowered Patient Leader training program.
Stacey will work closely with the Cabinet, the team of patients and caregivers who manage COLONTOWN on a daily basis.

Community Fundraising for the Win

march pick a date campaign

March 31, 2023 — More than 40 COLONTOWNies participated in our March Calendar Campaign, asking their networks to help them fill 31 days with donations.

Thanks to everyone who made this our most successful March Campaign to date! We raised more than $15,000 – enough to run a second in-person Empowered Patient Leader program this year!

COLONTOWNies Represent at the Cologuard Classic

COLONTOWNie Meghan Wallace at the Cologuard Classic

March 5, 2023 — 5 COLONTOWN members attended the Cologuard Classic Golf Tournament, thanks to sponsor Exact Sciences. Each member was paired with a pro who played in their honor, and everyone participated in events to raise awareness around colorectal cancer screening and treatment.

Stage 3 survivor Meghan Wallace played in the Pro-Am as a special treat!

Colon Cancer Coalition Supports Community Leaders

February 20, 2023 —We are thrilled to announce that the Colon Cancer Coalition has provided a grant to help support the COLONTOWN Community Leader Program for the coming year. Our Community Leaders, a volunteer team of patients and caregivers, oversee the more than 120 “neighborhoods” in COLONTOWN. They work to to keep COLONTOWN a safe, respectful space where CRC patients and caregivers can “find their people!” 

New PALTOWN Board and Executive Leadership

February 1, 2023 — PALTOWN congratulates longtime Board of Directors member Howard Brown for his election to Chair of the Board, and welcomes Susan Wysoki as Executive Director of the organization.

Howard, a stage IV CRC survivor, author, and entrepreneur, and Susan, a caregiver to daughter Jessica, who passed away in 2018, both bring deep experience and commitment to their new roles.

PALTOWN 2023 Leadership Retreat

January 9, 2023 — PALTOWN staff and volunteers gathered in San Diego for a weekend of team building and program planning. As a virtual organization, we find these annual events provide us much-needed time to brainstorm and connect.

Many thanks to lead sponsor Taiho Oncology for their continued support!

Lindsey Musick, COLONTOWN Mayor

December 3, 2022 – It is with tremendous sadness that we share the passing of our beloved COLONTOWN Mayor Lindsey Emma Musick. She led the community fearlessly and with complete compassion. We will miss her and are committed to continuing her tireless work to empower and embrace patients and caregivers in COLONTOWN, and through the Empowered Patient Leaders Program. 

All New Clinical Trials Resource

November 20, 2022 – Our COLONTOWN University team has completely reimagined our Clinical Trials Basics Learning Center.

This unique resource draws on the experiences of COLONTOWN members to help patients and caregivers understand not just what clinical trials are and how to access them, but how to approach trials as part of their own treatment plan.

Survivorship (and Cookies): New Book from COLONTOWNie Howard Brown

Howard Brown, Jenn Bass, Book cover cookies

October 10, 2022 – Howard Brown’s new memoir, “Shining Brightly” looks at survivorship through a lens of hope and resiliency. Howard, a COLONTOWNie, two-time cancer survivor, and a  member of  PALTOWN’s Board of  Directors, celebrated the publication with custom cookies created by COLONTOWN Cabinet member Jenn Bass.

Remembering Steve

Steve Schwarze

August 25, 2022 — We are all deeply grieving  the loss of Steve Schwarze, who served the community in many ways over his years with us. As Interim Mayor, Community Leader, Workshop Faculty, Cabinet Member, and Director of Clinical Trials Programming, Steve was always at the heart of COLONTOWN. He was a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. Please take a moment to learn more about this extraordinary human being.

New COLONTOWN Cabinet Members

Meagan and Jenn COLONTOWN Cabinet

August 20, 2022 – The COLONTOWN Cabinet, the patient and caregiver team that manages our online CRC community, welcomes two new members. Meagan is a stage IV patient from Canada, and Jenn, a stage III patient, also helps manage our Empowered Patient Leader training.

Empowered Patient Leader Training Goes Live

June 27, 2022 – We are thrilled to announce the return of our popular Empowered Patient Leader training to an in-person format.
We hosted our first live session in 2 1/2 years in New Jersey, and it was a great success. We continue to offer virtual EPL training as well, which allows folks from all around the world to participate.
Many thanks to our sponsor Taiho, who has funded this program since its inception.

Trial "Safari" Program Launches

June 25, 2022 — PALTOWN’s newest training program, the Searching Safari, has just wrapped up its inaugural sessions. This program, developed by COLONTOWN Cabinet member Julie Saliba Clauer and Clinical Trials Program Director Steve Schwarze, helps patients navigate the dense world of trials information to develop a short list of trial options.

PALTOWN at ASCO

PALTOWN at ASCO

June 7, 2022 – PALTOWN staff attended the world’s largest cancer conference, hosted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology Chicago.
Our patient and caregiver team attended scientific sessions, staffed our booth on the convention floor, and met with advocates, researchers, and sponsors in person for the first time since 2019. 
These events provide us with the opportunity to interact directly with the investigators working on cutting edge clinical trials, and to make connections and spread the word about the work, and the people, that make COLONTOWN so amazing.

COLONTOWN Website Redesign

June 4, 2022 – Time for a facelift! We’ve updated our COLONTOWN website to provide a friendly one-stop destination for all our programs to support colorectal cancer patients and caregivers. 
Our Facebook groups, our training programs, the latest DocTalks – come see everything we have to offer!

New in CRC101: Radiation

May 10, 2022 –  Our CRC101 Learning Center in COLONTOWN University continues to grow!

Check out the latest resource from our fantastic content development team: a guide to radiation therapy for newly diagnosed patients.

2021 Annual Report

April 4, 2022 — PALTOWN’s 2021 Impact Report provides a look at our year, our programs, our finances, and, of course, our people!

We are so grateful to our donors, partners and sponsors, who enable PALTOWN to continue to benefit the lives of thousands of patients and caregivers.  

We’ve also included a peek at our plans for this year!

News and Notes from Our Scientific Director

March 28, 2022 — Our new resource in COLONTOWN University features a round up of research news as well as some personal insights from PALTOWN Scientific Director (and patient) Dr. Manju George. 

We launch with a look at recent conversations in the CRC “Twitterverse,” and Manju’s “How to Cancer” piece reflecting on her 5 years since diagnosis.

Meet the Mayor

March 21, 2022 — Meet COLONTOWN Mayor Lindsey Musick in this new interview. Emmy-award winning journalist Christy McDonald produced this video as part of her CRC Awareness Month series. Christy was a caregiver for her husband Jamie Samuelsen, who passed away in 2020. Many thanks to Christy for her continued work to advocate for early screening!

Chemotherapy Resource for Newly Diagnosed Patients

March 9, 2022 —  COLONTOWN University’s CRC101 guide for newly diagnosed patients just got even better! We’ve added an extensive new section on chemotherapy – everything from side effects to ports and PICC lines. 

Check out this unique resource, created from the experiences of the thousands of patients in COLONTOWN!

Live Facebook Event: Meet Our People!

Join us on March 9th at 1 pm EST for a Live Facebook event. Meet some of our amazing patients and caregivers!

COLONTOWNies Represent at the Cologuard Classic

COLONTOWNies at Cologuard Classic

February 23, 2022 — We’re having fun this week watching Team COLONTOWN at the Cologuard Classic PGA Champions Tour event. Richard Jue is playing in the Pro-Am, and all our participants are paired with a pro playing in their honor.

Follow along on our Facebook page and at #cologuardclassic!

PALTOWN Presents at Research Conference

ASCO GI docs visiting CTU poster
Checking out Our presentation

January 22, 2022 — PALTOWN presented a poster (a visual summary of a research project) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in San Francisco.

PALTOWN COO Nancy Seybold and Scientific Director Manju George provided a look at the unique methodology for developing COLONTOWN University, along with some data about the impact of this educational resource for the patients and caregivers who use it. 

New Home for COLONTOWN University

January 20, 2022 — We’re excited to launch the new and improved version of COLONTOWN University.

This updated website includes our brand new CRC 101 Learning Center — which breaks down everything newly diagnosed patients need to know about their cancer — as well as the Learning Centers you already know and love.

We invite you to explore learn.colontown.org for more information! We have more content in the works, so check CTU on a regular basis for updates. 

PALTOWN Leadership Summit

December 14th, 2021 — PALTOWN held its first ever Leadership Summit in San Diego this month. The weekend-long event brought together PALTOWN staff and board members, the COLONTOWN management team, the science and clinical trials education teams, and key volunteers in COLONTOWN and our EPL training program.

Many thanks to sponsor Taiho Oncology for their support of this milestone!

Second Opinion Stories

November 19th, 2021 — Meet Chastity and James, 2 of the stage IV patients who reached NED (No Evidence of Disease) thanks to the second opinions they sought with the help of PALTOWN’s Second Opinion Project.

Colon Cancer Coalition Supports Cabinet

Sept 15, 2021 — We are thrilled to announce that the Colon Cancer Coalition has provided a grant to help support the COLONTOWN Cabinet for the coming year. The Cabinet, a team of patients and caregivers, manages all aspects of our COLONTOWN community, from onboarding to outreach to member support. They work with over 100 volunteers to keep our 120 groups safe, respectful spaces where CRC patients and caregivers can “find their people!”

Research Roundup: June 2021

June 24, 2021 — PALTOWN’s Scientific Director Manju George and FightCRC’s Trial Curator Maia Walker have teamed up to discuss some of the most interesting CRC research presented at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in this blog produced by our partners at Fight CRC.

Community Engagement Initiative Launches

Cleveland

June 21, 2021 –COLONTOWN’s network of 36 U.S. and 6 international “Crews” connect members who live or are treated near each other. The Community Engagement Initiative will bring live versions of our Doc Talks series to patients around the country, beginning with Cleveland in August, 2021. 

Many thanks to sponsor Thermo Fisher for supporting this Initiative.