News Items

The Colon Club Wins ASCRS 2019 Jagelman Award for Colorectal Cancer Advocacy

ASCRS is proud to give The Colon Club the 2019 David Jagelman, MD, Award for advocacy in colorectal cancer. Trish Lannon, president of The Colon Club, accepted the award at the 2019 ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Jagelman Award is named for Dr. David Jagelman, whose advocacy for his patients at the Cleveland Clinic is legendary. For its outreach on early-onset colorectal cancer, The Colon Club will receive a $1,000 honorarium.

Colorectal cancer is becoming more common in people under 50. The Colon Club offers support and educational resources for young people with colorectal cancer and their caregivers. The Colon Club’s magazine, On the Rise, raises awareness of the many faces of the disease by putting the spotlight on young colorectal cancer survivors and caregivers. Those featured not only bare their scars for the camera—some with colostomy bags—but also share their very personal stories, covering a wide range of issues such as infertility, clinical trials, FAP, Lynch Syndrome and more. The Colon Club also provides grants for the children of colorectal cancer patients through their Kimberly Fund, so those children have a chance to forget about cancer and be a kid again. Patients and caregivers can join Colon Talk, an online forum where they can chat with others to get support, and access blog posts by fellow colorectal cancer patients and medical professionals.

lannon.jpg“We at The Colon Club are truly honored for being selected as the 2019 recipient of the David Jagelman Award,” Said Lannon. “When this organization was started in 2003, there was nothing out there for those diagnosed with colorectal cancer at an early age. We have worked hard over the last 16 years to provide resources, support, and a voice for early-age onset colorectal cancer. Thank you to the nominating committee and the ASCRS Executive Council for recognizing the work we are doing to raise awareness and to change the perception of colorectal cancer.”

“As colorectal surgeons, we are deeply concerned about the increasing rate of colorectal cancer in people under 50,” said Sharon Stein, chair of the ASCRS Public Relations Committee. “The work that The Colon Club does is important not only to support people diagnosed with colorectal cancer but also to help prevent it by raising awareness.”

Electronic Saviors Creator Jim Semonik Wins 2019 Local Hero Award

semonik.jpgThrough Electronic Saviors: Industrial Music to Cure Cancer, Jim Semonik has told his story of surviving colorectal cancer and raised more than $70,000 for cancer charities and research. On June 2, ASCRS presented him with the 2019 Local Hero Award at the 2019 ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.

“The ASCRS Local Hero Award recognizes people affected by colorectal disease whose advocacy or public outreach efforts have had a positive impact on their local communities,” said Dr. Sharon Stein, a colorectal surgeon and chair of the ASCRS Public Relations Committee. “Jim Semonik is a perfect example of this and we are very proud to present him with the award.”

After he was diagnosed with a deadly form of colorectal cancer in 2008, Semonik called on his network as a promoter and record store buyer to create the first compilation album in what is now a five-volume series. The subsequent volumes, titled Recurrence, Remission, Retaliation and Remembrance, reflect his experience living with cancer, being declared cancer-free and losing a friend to colorectal cancer. The proceeds from these albums have funded more than $70,000 in donations to various cancer-related charities and research teams including the Foundation for Cancer Research and Wellness, Gilda's Club Western Pennsylvania, The Bone Marrow Foundation, Cap for Kids and the colorectal surgery research department at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Thank you for recognizing me for my work with Electronic Saviors. Being able to bring the gift of music to so many across the world after being touched by cancer is an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. This project has touched the hearts of so many and has created memories not only for me but for all of the artists involved,” said Semonik.

Electronic Saviors has featured music from hundreds of artists from across the globe and is now accepting submissions for its sixth volume. Semonik now has his own label, Distortion Productions, which represents bands that have appeared on the albums. In addition to the five compilation albums, Electronic Saviors sells t-shirts, posters and a comic book with its own soundtrack through Distortion Productions. An inspiration to the industrial music community, Semonik was knighted on stage at the Coldwaves festival in Chicago in September 2018.

“Escaping the grasp of cancer has provided me with an opportunity not only to savor my remaining years but to have a soundtrack for it. It is truly an honor to receive this award and when I do reach the end, I can look back with a sense of fondness and great accomplishment. No regrets."

Watch Sir Jim Semonik’s Local Hero Video.

APDCRS Letter of Recommendation

The Association of Program Directors for Colon and Rectal Surgery (APDCRS) has introduced a standardized letter of recommendation form for applicants to our fellowships.

If you are asked to write a Letter of Recommendation on behalf of an applicant, the applicant will submit this form to you via ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service). You will also have the opportunity to write any additional commentary on this form, though it is not required.

APDCRS' primary goal is to have more meaningful information included in the Letter of Recommendation. Its secondary goal is to make the process of "writing" a Letter of Recommendation easier to accomplish in a timely manner.

For more information, e-mail APDCRS at [email protected] or call (734) 282-9400.

ASCRS Young Surgeon Spotlight: Mark K. Soliman

Mark K. Soliman
Colon and Rectal Clinic of Orlando
Orlando, Florida

Why I am a member of ASCRS:

I fell in love with the speciality of colon and rectal surgery because of the people. The mentors and role models I had in residency and fellowship demonstrated an elegant balance of patient empathy, technical skill, clinical knowledge and a passion to treat the most complex and difficult surgical pathology. The ASCRS embodies these very traits on an organizational level—one in which I am a proud member of.

Why did you specialize in colorectal surgery?

One of the most common questions I get is why did I choose to specialize in colon and rectal surgery. My answer typically is, "it’s complicated."

In truth, many things appealed to me about this speciality when I was deciding what to seek additional training in. The field of colon and rectal surgery requires a very skilled, delicate, thorough, and compassionate approach, especially in this often vulnerable and private area of the body.

This balance of humanity and precise surgery is one of the many facets that attracted me to the field. Additionally, the breadth of conditions I manage and operations I do as a specialist afford both intellectual stimulation and an opportunity to offer tertiary level care to those patients I am blessed to see.

Colon and rectal surgery is also at an extraordinarily exciting time, as we are witnessing a generational shift in the way we manage complex conditions such as rectal cancer, and the operative modalities that are available.

One of my passions has been offering my patients advanced minimally invasive robotic operations in addition to creating training curricula to train the next generation of colon and rectal surgeons in this same approach.

Only in the speciality of colon and rectal surgery did I find sufficient challenge, reward and opportunity—a decision I am proud I made and blessed to have been accepted into.

ASCRSconnect is Online!

ASCRSconnect is our new private, secure online community to ask questions, share your experiences and build relationships. We’ll have all the details for you tomorrow.

In the meantime, you can log in and update your privacy settings and communications preferences. All ASCRS members have been automatically subscribed to the ASCRSconnect Daily Digest, but it’s easy to control the number and frequency of the alerts.

  • Go to ASCRSconnect and log in using your regular ASCRS website login and password.
  • Go to your profile by clicking on the profile icon in the top right of your screen and then clicking on "Profile."
  • You’re now in your profile. Go to the My Account tab and click on Community Notifications. For each group of which you’re a member, you can choose:
    • Real time – receive notices every time there is an update to the group
    • Daily Digest – receive a daily compilation group activities
    • No email – receive no notices; log in to ASCRSconnect to catch up on the action

You can learn more about how to use ASCRSconnect in this short 4-minute video or on the FAQs page. We hope you enjoy this new member benefit. Look for more updates on ASCRSconnect!

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