Meet the Andrew J. Somora Foundation

Fight Colorectal Cancer enjoys partnering with local organizations to form coalitions that span across the United States. It’s common for those who’ve lost someone to colorectal cancer to honor their memory by ‘giving back’ to their community or finding ways to support others facing cancer. As a national organization, we enjoy partnering with our grassroots advocates to fight colorectal cancer on national AND local levels.
andrew-j-somora-foundationOne of the groups we’ve partnered with is the Andrew J. Somora Foundation in Kansas City. This group honors and remembers Andrew Somora, a young husband and father who passed away from stage IV colorectal cancer in 2011. His family continues his legacy by raising funds and awareness locally. The foundation seeks to alleviate the emotional and financial burdens of cancer for some patients. It donates to the University of Kansas Cancer Center’s Patient Assistance Fund and offers direct financial support to colorectal cancer patients. In addition, the foundation supports national colorectal cancer advocacy and recently became a sponsor of our upcoming Town Hall Meeting in Kansas City.

Learn a little bit more about the Andrew J. Somora Foundation:

Who is Andrew?

andrew-j-somora-colon-cancerAndrew was a husband of 12 years and a father of two young boys. He and his wife Julie met in law school and married in 1998. Although he often struggled with GI problems, he always had an explanation for his flare-ups until he began spotting blood in the stool. Initially dismissed as colitis, doctors soon requested blood work that revealed his anemia. A referral to the GI and scheduled colonoscopy led to his stage IV colon cancer diagnosis. He received multiple rounds of surgeries and treatments, but the cancer continued to grow and appear in his liver and lungs. After attempting every option, Andrew passed away on Oct. 28, 2011.

Why The Foundation?

Throughout Andrew’s cancer journey, his boss and mentor, Bret Wilson, inspired him in how to handle the diagnosis and find support. Bret and his wife Christy had taken the tragic loss of their 13-year-old daughter and built the Erin Andra Wilson Foundation after she passed away from leukemia years earlier.

After Andrew died, Julie wanted to ensure that he would be remembered. She took Bret’s model of a foundation to help others and created the Andrew J. Somora Foundation as a way to channel her loss into an outlet that created an opportunity for activism.

What does the Foundation Do?

julie-somora-fundraiserThe mission of the foundation is to help families cope with the financial burdens of a colon cancer diagnosis and spread awareness of the symptoms of colon cancer and the importance of early detection.

The foundation also serves as a way to share Andrew’s story and hopefully prevent another family from losing their loved one. Andrew died in October – in the height of breast cancer awareness month – and left behind two little boys (ages nine and six at the time) who couldn’t understand why everything was pink and no one ever talked about colon cancer awareness.

Through events like the Bringing Up the Rear 5K, Chiefs ticket raffle, poker and golf tournaments, among others, the organization raises funds to spread the word about colon cancer and get people talking about a taboo topic.

What is “Bringing up the Rear?”

bringing-up-rear-5k-raceAndrew was a runner and had completed two marathons and numerous half-marathons – including one just a few weeks before his diagnosis. As a way to raise money in his honor, a 5K race was formed.

The race name, Bringing Up the Rear, was born out of a desire to share Andrew’s story. Strategically named for colorectal cancer awareness, the event pokes fun at the often not-talked about subjects of rears, poop, colons and colonoscopies in hopes of preventing someone else from the same fate. The foundation hosts several events throughout the year to raise money to support colorectal cancer awareness.

The 5K, among other events, takes advantage of a captive audience and raises awareness of the disease.

It’s a great way to remember Andrew, honor his legacy and raise money to help others. Fight Colorectal Cancer is proud to promote and encourage participation in local organizations and thankful for their support!

Learn more!

Sign up for the 2013 Bringing up the Rear on Oct. 13, 2013.

Enter the Chiefs Tailgate Experience