In July 2006, we received an email to the C3 mailbox:
I am Rob Michelson, age 39. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer.
I am a proponent of clinical research. I am doing some investigatory work to educate myself about colorectal cancer advocacy and have come across the C3 website. I’d like to find out more about C3 and potentially, how I can add my voice to the advocacy and support programs.
Since that initial email of introduction, Rob actively touched every corner of C3′s work on behalf of the colorectal cancer community. He threw himself full force into the fight. Many of our advocates focus their attention solely on changing policy, some focus on pushing research. Rob did it all.
He served on the C3 grassroots advisory committee, which steers the work that we do with our advocates. He attended our 2007 Call-on Congress and was one of the planners for our 2008 event. Rob was the kind of constituent that makes Members of Congress nervous: smart as a whip, passionate about the cause and completely unafraid to push for more. He also participated in our Research Advocacy Program and was the patient representative on the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), which oversees colorectal cancer clinical trails in the US. The photo on the right was taken at our 2007 training in Orlando, Florida.
He was one of the champions for the C3 Lisa Fund, which raises money to go directly to a researcher looking into cures and treatments for late stage colorectal cancer. In fact, he single-handedly raised thousands for the Lisa Fund through his direct appeals to his friends, family and co-workers.
He understood everything C3 was about, and he gave his time and heart passionately to our shared cause.
For the staff of C3, when we think of Rob, we hear bells. Stock market opening bells.
Rob is in the center of this picture.
Rob worked at the New York Stock Exchange. Last year, through his tenacity and passion, he pushed to get C3 invited to ring the Opening Bell the first Monday in March (Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month).
C3 President Carlea Bauman (to Rob’s left in picture above) remembers:
When we all piled onto the podium, I recall seeing groups of people looking up at us with huge smiles on their faces. I realized that they were all Rob’s friends who had come to watch him have his moment. And what a moment it was: the whole world heard about colorectal cancer that day and colorectal cancer patients saw one of their own broadcasting their plight and showing them that they weren’t alone.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Margherita, their sons, friends and family during this difficult time. We will carry his voice with us, and we will not give up the fight.