Thursday, 09 May 2013 00:00
Manhasset resident Kathy De Rosa started the De Rosa Foundation For Colon Cancer Research and Prevention in 2007 with the goal of raising awareness and promoting research for its detection and early treatment.
Unfortunately De Rosa had first-hand experience. “After following up for unrelated bleeding from hemorrhoids, my 35-year old brother Gary Constantopes, also a Manhasset resident, was diagnosed in 2006 with hyperplastic polyposis syndrome. This means he had polyps that can become cancerous; he had over 100 of them. Because of his diagnosis, other family members were screened. Our grandparents, parents and two of our sisters were clear but I also had over 100 polyps. I was only 38, married with two young children, when I was diagnosed, ” recalls De Rosa. “Gary and I had no symptoms of this condition and we both felt well. Without early detection and treatment, we would not have survived,” she now calmly explains.
At the time of her diagnosis, De Rosa says she was far from calm and her “uncertainty and fear were overwhelming. I did a vast search for a colorectal surgeon, as well as research on my condition.” After her successful surgery she was inspired to set up a foundation to educate people about early detection and treatment, and raise funds for research. Every March – national colon cancer awareness month - the Foundation holds its large-scale annual fundraising dinner gala. The income is donated to two institutions: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for research, and North Shore/LIJ Hospital for a fellowship, directed by Dr. John A. Procaccino of Manhasset, in colon and rectal surgery. “We have helped numerous patients, making a positive difference in their lives and how they got treated. Our goal is to provide information to people with colon cancer and to make it easier to navigate the difficulties,” states De Rosa.
“The foundation is run entirely by volunteers, including a junior committee of students mostly from Manhasset High School, and one part-time administrator,” says De Rosa. “We offer an advisory board of doctors who guide newly-diagnosed patients. We also offer a support program directed by colon cancer survivors who speak with and direct colon cancer patients,” she adds.
Visit the website at www.thederosafoundation.org.
Submitted by the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce