C.A.S.U.A.L. Day benefits colon cancer awareness


Marywood faculty participated in C.A.S.U.A.L Day. Front row from left: Barbara McNally, Lori Swanchak, Kevin Kuna. Back from left: Liz McGill, David Isgan, Marie Bonavoglia

Patrick Kernan, Correspondent

Marywood University took part in the annual C.A.S.U.A.L. Day event on March 27 and raised almost $500 for colon cancer awareness and screenings.

According to an official statement from the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, C.A.S.U.A.L. Day, which stands for Colon cancer Awareness Saves Unlimited Adult Lives, is a region-wide event. It is held to raise money for colon cancer awareness and to pay for screenings for those who could not afford it otherwise.

Workplaces around the area participate by allowing their employees to purchase a T-shirt for $15 or a pin for $5 and wear them on C.A.S.U.A.L. Day. The money raised is then donated to Northeast Regional Cancer Institute.

Dr. Lori Swanchak, director of the physician assistant program, was the leader of Marywood’s C.A.S.U.A.L. Day team.

“C.A.S.U.A.L. Day is incredibly important,” Swanchak said, “since colon cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in our area. Incident rates are actually 10% higher here than in the rest of the country.”

According to Swanchak, Marywood University was able to raise about $500 for the organization.

“It’s less than most years, but it’s still a pretty good amount,” Swanchak said.

Marywood University has been holding C.A.S.U.A.L. Day for 10 of the 11 years the event has been run.

“C.A.S.U.A.L. Day is held in honor of Helen Phillips, and I’m friends with her daughter,” Swanchak said, “so I figured I’d organize the event at Marywood as a way to help out.”

In February 2002, Helen Phillips was diagnosed with colon cancer, and she passed away less than six months later. Her family then approached the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute to hold C.A.S.U.A.L. Day in her honor and to benefit others with the disease.

Faculty members involved in Marywood’s C.A.S.U.A.L. Day said they were glad to be able to help with the event.

David Isgan, professor in the physician assistant program, said he decided to get involved because the cause hits close to home.

“My wife’s uncle died of colon cancer three years ago at the age of 50,” Isgan said, “so it is a way to respect his memory.”

Barbara McNally, executive assistant to the vice president of academic affairs, said that C.A.S.U.A.L Day organizers made it pretty easy to show support for those with colon cancer.

“If I can open up someone’s eyes to the fact that they haven’t been tested yet and they know that sooner rather than later they need to get this done,” McNally said, “then wearing a shirt as a reminder is fine with me.”