Each person featured here is a volunteer touched by colorectal cancer. Get Your Rear in Gear® and Tour de Tush®events would not exist without them.
Please join us in saying “Thank You” for their tireless efforts.
Want to join this impressive group of individuals? Contact us about bringing Get Your Rear in Gear or Tour de Tush to your community.
Gale Fritsche | allentown, pa | Eric & Toni McDuffie | arkansas | After Get Your Rear in Gear – Arkansas lost their leader, Frankie Melendez, Eric and Toni McDuffie stepped in to continue his work in Arkansas. Eric and Frankie had known each other for over 30 years, since college. Frankie was a second dad to the McDuffie boys and worked closely with them in their business. Colorectal cancer awareness was such an important cause Frankie, Eric and and Toni want to continue his legacy in his honor. Frankie Melendez, Jr. | arkansas Ryan Murray | austin, tx |
Gale is the event director for the Tour de Tush bicycle ride held in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He became involved in planning the event while going through treatments for stage III colon cancer discovered during a routine screening. His hope is that events like the Tour de Tush will make an impact on many communities in the fight against colon cancer.
Frankie was diagnosed at stage IV at age 45, and lead Get Your Rear in Gear in Arkansas from 2017 until his death in early 2019. Frankie wanted people in Arkansas to not ignore sign or symptoms like he did. He felt it was important to listen to your body and do not ignore when it is telling you when something is wrong. Frankie’s wish was for everyone to know about this disease and importance of getting check and screened. He did not have a sit-on-the-bench personality, he wanted to be in the game and make a difference. That’s what he did Arkansas.
Ryan lives in Austin with his wife, Jessica and lots of animals… and honeybees. He has volunteered with Get Your Rear in Gear in Austin since 2007 in honor of his loved ones lost to all types of cancer.
Gale Fritsche | allentown, pa |
Eric & Toni McDuffie | arkansas |
After Get Your Rear in Gear – Arkansas lost their leader, Frankie Melendez, Eric and Toni McDuffie stepped in to continue his work in Arkansas. Eric and Frankie had known each other for over 30 years, since college. Frankie was a second dad to the McDuffie boys and worked closely with them in their business. Colorectal cancer awareness was such an important cause Frankie, Eric and and Toni want to continue his legacy in his honor.
Frankie Melendez, Jr. | arkansas
Ryan Murray | austin, tx |
Wendy Paxton | baltimore, md |
Wendy was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 at the age of 40. She is a single mom and works in clinical research for a urology practice in Maryland treating patients with bladder cancer. She has been very involved in fundraising and volunteering at events for bladder cancer and prostate cancer for many years but since colon cancer is personal to her she felt compelled to get involved with the Colon Cancer Coalition. With the help of two coworkers, Heather Thomas and Virginia Michaels, Wendy brought Get Your Rear in Gear to Maryland in 2022. She is passionate about raising awareness and encouraging everyone to get screened for early detection of colon cancer. She is hopeful that her first event will be a success and that there will be many more events in Maryland for years to come.
Tavia Crumpler | baton rouge, la |
When diagnosed with stage II rectal cancer at age 48, Tavia decided she was going to live out loud with her journey. What she learned is that you must trust your gut and be an advocate for yourself. Finding her cancer early improved her odds of survival. Screening is also an intervention tool by removing the polyps that can become cancerous. Colonoscopies get a bad rap. Tavia got involved because she wants to help communicate the importance of screening and awareness. Too many young people are dying and it’s senseless!
Tiffany Thomas | baton rouge, la |
Tiffany got involved with the Colon Cancer Coalition after her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in her mid 50s. After losing her on her 63rd birthday, she knew she had to continue to help with awareness. Tiffany saw her mother struggle for years with colon cancer and it was unforgettable and so heartbreaking. This experiance makes her want to help others avoid such pain. Losing her mom has made her have a different outlook on life and her health, making part of her life mission to spread awareness about colon cancer.
Dr. Neelima Reddy | baton rouge, la
Neelima is a gastroenterologist who enjoys spreading awareness in the community and doing this fun event, Get Your Rear in Gear in Baton Rouge.
Brian Shelly | boston, ma |
Brian got involved with the Colon Cancer Coalition after his brother-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer in his 30s. He hopes the work he does for the Boston 5K will encourage all people, not just those above the screening age of 50, to know the signs and symptoms of the disease and to talk with their families about health history and the importance of screening.
Joe Mahaffey | charlotte, nc |
Joe is the brother of Doc Mahaffey – the Blue Ribbon Warrior. Joe joined the fight in Doc’s final year as a committee member of Get Your Rear in Gear – Charlotte. In 2018, Joe led an amazing team of people who continue to build on the foundation that Doc, Sue (Falco), and others have brought to the legacy of the Charlotte race. Joe current passion is the Blue Ribbon Warriors Foundation that focuses on colon cancer awareness, advocacy, and fights for better policies that drives research and lowers both the cost and the age of getting screened.
Philip Sanford | charlotte, nc |
Philip has been running in Get Your Rear in Gear races across the country since 2010. He been on the committee in Charlotte since 2016, and leading the event since 2018. Philip’s mother, Mary Kay Sanford, passed away from colon cancer in 2006 at the age of 48 after being diagnosed with stage IV six years earlier. The goals Philip would like to achieve in his leadership role are to increase awareness and screening for early onset colon cancer, have the Colon Cancer Coalition be the driving force behind changes in Charlotte and the state of North Carolina, and to have the stigma removed from open discussions about colon cancer and its symptoms, especially among young people.
Sue Falco | charlotte, nc
Together with Mary-Karen Bierman, Sue brought Get Your Rear in Gear to Charlotte in 2010. She the led the event committee from the first race until her death in 2016. The event in Charlotte is dedicated to her memory and the team is determined to change the way we see colorectal cancer, one beautiful warrior at a time.
Doc Mahaffey | charlotte, nc
Doc battled colorectal cancer 3-times before it finally claimed his life. Diagnosed in 2010 with stage I rectal cancer at the age of 50, Doc became involved after a stage III diagnosis in 2012. In August 2014, he was diagnosed a 3rd time with a re-occurrence of stage IV, making him more determined to increase awareness, screening rates, and the support available to those in treatment. When Sue Falco lost her 8-year battle just months before the 2016 event in Charlotte, Doc stepped in as co-director, a roll he held before his passing later the same year. Doc was the self-proclaimed Blue Ribbon Warrior, living by his motto “In the battle against cancer, it takes a warrior to survive.”
Sarah Lemnah | colchester, vt |
In addition to leading Get Your Rear in Gear – Colchester, Sarah Lemnah is the Executive Director of the Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF). CPSF provides financial support to Vermont cancer patients and their families while in treatment. She also volunteers on the steering committee for Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer and serves on its Quality of Life Workgroup and Families Impacted by Cancer Task Force. Sarah has four friends who are colon cancer survivors which fuels her passion for colorectal screenings and support for patients.
Tammy Phillips | columbus, oh |
Tammy is a mother, wife, and full time police officer, but first she is a daughter. Her journey with colon cancer began in 2011 after her mother was diagnosed with the disease. She is a worker bee by nature and was excited to do more in the fight with colon cancer prevention and education. She searched for a race to run honoring her mothers fight and ended up creating one in Columbus, Ohio in 2015 through the Colon Cancer Coalition. In addition to directing the upcoming race, she devotes a great deal of time serving the homeless community and volunteering at the local shelter.
Trish Smith | columbus, oh |
Trish is a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt. She and her husband have five daughters and sons-in-law and 17 grandchildren. Which means there is never a lack of race volunteers! Trish is a stage III colon cancer survivor since 2012 and has been working with her daughter Tammy on the Get Your Rear In Gear in Columbus since that inaugural race in 2015. When not getting her rear in gear, Trish can be found gardening, crafting, cooking, or raising her chickens and ducks.
Dr. Maria Johnson | cromwell, ct
Dr. Maria Johnson brought a partnership with the Colon Cancer Coalition to her community in a new event, the Blue Moon Gala. She is a gastroenterologist in CT who is passionate about raising colorectal cancer awareness. Her passion is derived from her past experiences with family members, friends and patients who have had colon cancer.
David & Winonah McCluskey | des moines, ia |
David McCluskey is a colorectal cancer survivor. He and his wife Winonah started the Colon Cancer Foundation of Iowa (formerly Davids Fight) in memory of David Kinman, who passed away at the age of 36, after a hard fought battle against colorectal cancer. Their mission and passion is to find a way to help families fight this terrible disease. Get Your Rear in Gear in Des Moines allows them to make an impact and increase screening rates, awareness, and provide financial assistance to families affected by colorectal cancer in Iowa. In their free time, they love to spend time with their 14 year old son, Nick. They are active in their community and with their church. David is involved in a variety of projects, and is a high school wrestling referee. Winonah is involved in the local school district, helping start a new nonprofit to provide resources to teachers throughout West Des Moines.
Michelle Squires | fort worth, tx |
Michelle’s passion for colorectal cancer awareness started when her mom was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at 51 years old. After losing her 3 years later she decided she wanted to change the way people think and talk about colon cancer. Losing her mom changed every part of her life and now she wants to make sure this disease doesn’t change other’s lives in the same way.
Danielle Josephine DeWitt, MHA | grand rapids, mi |
Danielle is the Senior Foundation Specialist for Donor Relations and Stewardship at the Spectrum Health Foundation and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation. Danielle met Chelsea Boet, original local event director for Get Your Rear in Gear – Grand Rapids, when she became her primary care physician in 2014 and their friendship developed over the years. When Chelsea received her diagnosis, Danielle wanted to do everything she could to support her friend—and was able to use her expertise in event planning and fundraising to walk alongside Chelsea in the planning of the inaugural Get Your Rear in Gear – Grand Rapids in 2019. Two weeks before her dear friend Chelsea Boet lost her battle with colon cancer in November 2020, she asked Danielle to take on this event after she passed away. She is excited, proud, and honored to co-direct Get Your Rear in Gear Grand Rapids, help keep Chelsea’s legacy alive and support patients and families who are walking the same path she did.
Spencer Vereecken | grand rapids, mi |
A lot has happened in the Vereeken household since 2019, the addition of a baby girl to their family, a cancer diagnosis, and COVID-19. But that hasn’t stopped Spencer from living his passions and advocating for others. His cancer diagnosis helped frame his passions: faith, family, and being a partner in his IT firm. Cancer and COVID also helped him discover his love for his Peloton and biking, helping him regain his strength after chemotherapy and during the monotony of COVID lockdowns. When not focusing on his family, you can also find him cheering for the Wolverines or Detroit-based pro teams, on the lake, or working with Danielle to make Get Your Rear in Gear – Grand Rapids successful.
Dr. Chelsea Boet | grand rapids, mi
Chelsea was a primary care physician and mother of two when she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in 2018 at age 34. She got involved with the Colon Cancer Coalition because she felt a Get Your Rear in Gear event would be an excellent way to raise funds and awareness about colorectal cancer. Chelsea lead the Grand Rapids event in 2019 and 2020. In November 2020, Chelsea passed away from her disease. Get Your Rear in Gear – Grand Rapids will continue in her honor.
Dr. Erik Johnson MD, FACS | green bay, wi |
Dr. Erik Johnson MD, FACS is a General & Vascular Surgeon in Green Bay, WI. Dr. Johnson has been involved with Get Your Rear in Gear for several years. His goal is to help spread awareness of colon cancer’s risk factors, signs and symptoms throughout the greater Green Bay Area. Dr. Johnson has a passion to spread awareness on why screenings are important for everyone. Screenings make a difference in decreasing death from colon cancer. But currently only two thirds of Americans are up to date with recommended colon cancer screening tests. Colon cancer can be preventable, treatable and beatable if it’s caught early, but yet it is still the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. So the more people that can educate and get in to a screening, the healthier the Green Bay community can be.
Allison Rosen | houston, tx |
Allison is a local Texan, and a 7-year colon cancer survivor. She got involved with the Get Your Rear in Gear in Houston while seeking out support from the colorectal cancer community after numerous surgeries and treatment. She loves volunteering and has a passion for educating people, especially the community under the age of 50, about colorectal cancer prevention. Colorectal cancer is preventable, beatable and treatable.
David Galvin | indianapolis |
David Galvin first got involved with the Colon Cancer Coalition while attending Get Your Rear in Gear – Philadelphia, captaining a team in honor his father, Dennis, who lost his battle with colon cancer in 2008. In 2022, after relocating to Indianapolis, IN, he took over as the local event director for the Indianapolis event. Dave and his wife Becky along with their two sons live in the suburbs of Indianapolis. They want to continue to spread awareness for cancer screenings and help promote the Colon Cancer Coalition’s message that early detection is the key to preventing all types of cancers.
Ginny Goddard | kansas city
Ginny lost her husband to colon cancer in 2010 when he was 29 years old. Since then, she has been on a mission to raise awareness about this disease in the Kansas City community, especially to young adults.
Stacie Moody | kansas city |
Stacie’s father was diagnosed with colon cancer at 37 and was lost one month after his 40th birthday. His entire family also died from colon cancer at relatively young ages. At 21 Stacie decided it was time to get checked out, and had her first colonoscopy at 26. Now she is working on spreading awareness about the importance of early detection, knowing the symptoms of colon cancer, and getting doctors to be more aware of the possibility of colon cancer among younger adults.
Angie Koppe | muscatine |
Angie’s family is very passionate about helping to raise awareness about colon cancer and the importance of early detection. Her father was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 65, survived and then several years later was diagnosed with AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and lost his battle with cancer. Trying to help others become aware is very important to her. She became the event director in Muscatine and hoped to keep the Get Your Rear in Gear events happening in her community for years to come.
Kelly Sherlock | new hampshire |
Kelly currently lives in NH with her husband but will always be a New Yorker at heart. Her mother and best friend lost her fight to stage IV colon cancer in 2017 at the age of 58. It was then that she knew she had to give back and raise awareness. She then began co-chairing the Get Your Rear in Gear – New Hampshire with Katie Robert. Katie has been a guiding light for her in more ways than one and she hopes to be able to help others through tough times as Katie as helped her. Her family uses the race as a celebration of life to her mother and hopes to grow her event in NH in the years to come.
Katie Robert | new hampshire |
Katie lives in Concord, NH with her husband and two daughters – Madelyn and Norah. She is a public health consultant working for John Snow, Inc., and is the current Board President for the New Hampshire Public Health Association. Katie’s passion for this event was inspired by her mother’s 10-year battle with colon cancer, to which she finally succumbed in November 2014.
Alyssa Frost | new york city, ny |
Alyssa is a native New Yorker, working as a school counselor with a true passion for helping others. She has always been involved in fundraising but for the past several years has raised money directly for the Colon Cancer Coalition. Alyssa’s journey with colorectal cancer began at a very young age when her aunt was diagnosed and passed away from stage IV rectal cancer. Alyssa is a big advocate for everyone to get screened and motivated to keep the memory of her aunt alive by celebrating the wonderful person that she was. “The years go on but we never forget.”
Sarah Mitchell | new york city, ny
Mother to three, wife to one, and friend to many, Sarah Covey Mitchell has been involved in the Get Your Rear in Gear – New York City since 2010. Her sister, Amy, died of colon cancer at the age of 33 in 2009, and the Covey family has been supporting the Colon Cancer Coalition in Amy’s memory. Sarah resides in London, UK with her family.
Ashley Johnson | orlando, fl |
Ashley is the event director for Orlando, Florida. She is a positive upbeat Florida Gator alumni who is set on achieving life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
Maria Grasso | philadelphia, pa |
After losing her father and grandfather to colon cancer, Maria felt the need to make a difference in her community. In 2009, she partnered with the Colon Cancer Coalition to bring Get Your Rear in Gear to Philadelphia and do just that. They have had tremendous success in raising funds and awareness – over $2.5 million in 12 years!
Lisa Alley | portland, or |
Lisa got involved with Get Your Rear in Gear initially to support my dad whom was diagnosed in 2011 with stage IV colon cancer but lost his battle in September 2017. She willing volunteered when asked at the 2018 walk to step in and help organize at local level. The walk is a place for those battling, families grieving; families rejoicing, and those that just want to support, to come together for something positive and it’s a time to support each other and raise awareness. Lisa looks forward to the walk each year!
Katie Collins | rochester hills, mi |
Currently is a nurse manager at an outpatient endoscopy center. Katie has been there next to patients the moment they are told of their cancer diagnosis. Alongside her fellow colleagues, choosing to host a Get Your Rear in Gear 5K is a way to honor these patients. Her goal is to provide more knowledge, resources, and guidance to those with colorectal cancer. After working in healthcare for over 10 years, she believes there is great power that lies in offering hope to those dealt an awful hand. Katie says that partnering with the Colon Cancer Coalition for this event provides hope for patients, their families, and the community as a whole.
Jenny Yu | san francisco, ca |
Jenny brought Get Your Rear in Gear back to San Francisco in 2016. Her goal? To save other families from the same pain, distress, heart ache, and frustration her siblings, mom, and friends went through while her father fought stage IV colon and liver cancer. Her mantra? Screening Save Lives. Awareness Save Lives.
Elinor Gingerich | san antonio, tx |
Elinor celebrated 5 years of leading Get Your Rear in Gear – San Antonio in 2020. She got involved after the diagnosis of several friends, including a 38-year-old friend from college. That illness made Elinor realize the need for increased awareness, especially for those under 50. Elinor works for AT&T and lives in San Antonio with her husband, son, and two dogs.
Dr. Katherine Anderson | tulsa, ok |
Katherine Anderson is a Naturopathic Doctor and currently serves as the Chief, Division of Naturopathic Medicine for CTCA’s five hospital system and as Director of Integrative Oncology at CTCA’s Southwestern Regional Medical Center in Tulsa, OK. She has a BSc. in mathematics, received her naturopathic degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and received her MBA at Oklahoma State University As Director of Integrative Oncology, she collaborates with a diverse array of experts and other medical personnel daily, to provide individualized, integrative care for oncology patients. She has over 12 years of experience working in an integrated hospital environment providing oncology care to patients.
Jesse Powell | tulsa, ok |
Jesse enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids at Grand Lake in Oklahoma. He started volunteering for Get your Rear in Gear – Tulsa after his mother, Beth Powell, was diagnosed with colon cancer. To honor the fight of her and his longtime friend and colleague, Gerald Dorsey, Jesse formed Team Butt Buddies! After a very successful turn out Jesse was asked to be part of the Get Your Rear in Gear team. It’s his goal to raise awareness for early detection and screening for this terrible disease.
J.J. Sorochty | wichita, ks |
J.J. is a stay at home mom of three busy kids. She became involved with Get Your Rear in Gear when her sister was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at 42. Being a Get Your Rear in Gear event director has been such a rewarding experience!
Dr. David Hiller | winston-salem, nc |
David is a colon and rectal surgeon in Winston-Salem, NC. He has been involved with Get Your Rear in Gear for several years to further help his patients, their families, and the community with colon cancer awareness.
Danielle Swicegood | winston-salem, nc |
Danielle became involved with Get Your Rear in Gear – Winston-Salem in 2016 and became one of the Lead Event Directors in 2019 with Dr. David Hiller. With an educational background in healthcare and as a practice manager for a gastroenterology practice, she sees the impact that the various stages of colon cancer have on people’s lives – physically, emotionally, and financially. This has given her a passion for promoting prevention, understanding what is or isn’t “ordinary” body behavior, and fighting against the stigmas that are associated with getting screened. She loves the Colon Cancer Coalition because of the dedication they have for the cause and their willingness to support events that directly help the people in her community.