2023 marks the 20th Anniversary of CASUAL Day, NRCI’s biggest educational and awareness campaign each year focused on the early detection and screening for colorectal cancer. In 2004, siblings Mike Moran and Maura Staback presented the idea of CASUAL Day to NRCI to honor their mother, Helen Phillips, who died from colon cancer.
We are grateful for the vision Mike and Maura had 20 years ago and they have stayed involved in the CASUAL Day campaign over the years. This year, they are the co-chairs for it.
We had a chance to catch up with them to ask some questions about CASUAL Day and what they see for its future.
Q: How did you come up with the concept for CASUAL Day and the acronym?
Mike & Maura: The idea was created to find a different way to bring awareness to colorectal cancer. We came up with casual because we wanted to make talking about colon cancer part of a casual conversation.
Mike: I came up with the acronym in a dream. I wanted to make the word casual mean a casual conversation, but I also wanted casual to stand for something.
Q: What does it mean to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this educational and awareness campaign?
Mike & Maura: It is mind boggling that it’s the 20th anniversary of it. We are thrilled at the amazing job NRCI has done with the campaign to spread awareness. Some campaigns fade after a few years, but CASUAL Day has stayed strong. Unfortunately, many people have been touched by this disease in some way. In recent years, colon cancer rates are up in adults under age 50. For this reason, the American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk start screening at age 45. This campaign is still relevant.
Q: Did you know the impact CASUAL Day would have on so many people in NEPA?
Mike and Maura: We never imagined it would touch so many people. We love to hear stories about how a family member was screened because of CASUAL Day and how they were able to get polyps removed. We have been thanked for helping to save their lives.
Q: What do you envision for the future of CASUAL Day?
Mike and Maura: We hope that ten years from now we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the campaign and it has grown ever bigger than it is today.
Q: What is your message to other families like yours?
Mike and Maura: We know how difficult colon cancer is for a family but there are wonderful organizations that can help you navigate the murky waters ahead. We relied on our family and those close to us to get through it.
Mike and Maura would like to thank Dr. Harmar Brereton, one of NRCI’s founders, as he believed in their dream for this idea. Dr. Brereton introduced them to NRCI and its former president, Bob Durkin. Bob believed a difference could be made by sharing Mike and Maura’s mother’s story. Mike and Maura’s families are grateful for NRCI and call them unsung heroes.
CASUAL Day was Thursday, March 30. If you would still like to purchase a t-shirt, call NRCI at (570) 904-8808.