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Lions launch campaign for colorectal screening: Call for action in memory of Nicholas Morehead

Husband, father, brother, son, friend and community activist — Nicholas Morehead was one of the Island’s most beloved residents for all he gave to his hometown. Months after his death at 46 , his memory still can bring tears to the eyes of the many who cherished him.

The Shelter Island Lions Club is honoring this selfless man by conducting a campaign to encourage residents to get screened for colorectal cancer, which claimed his life.

Posters for the Lions Club campaign encourages people to get screened in Mr. Morehead’s memory.

The risk of colorectal cancer increases after the age of 45, and yet one in three adults over that age aren’t getting screened despite the reality that, if caught in its earliest stages, colorectal cancer is 90% curable.

Yet it’s the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, according to Marilynn Pysher, who is spearheading the Lions Club campaign to get people screened.

“If one life can be saved, it would be a wonderful thing,” Ms. Pysher said.

It’s the third most common cancer in the United States, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. More than 97,000 people in the United States are newly diagnosed with colon cancer each year and it’s generally treated with surgery, often followed up with chemotherapy.

Basic screening techniques include a colonoscopy, a stool DNA test or a fecal occult blood test.

Get tested for yourself and your family and friends, Ms. Pysher said.

At a memorial service for Mr. Morehead in May, his close friend, Brett Surerus, said: “Nicholas is what you hope to achieve in living life as the example for others to follow. His calm, even-keel demeanor shines like a beacon and is infectious. I’ll be working hard every day, for the rest of my life, to live up to Nicholas.”

His sister-in-law, Shelli Nicolet said: “Nick is one of those rare people who touched everyone he came in contact with in a positive way. He was kind, generous, compassionate, loyal and funny. He loved Shelter Island and he loved being a part of anything he felt he could help make better in a way. That was an example to all of us — he is the best of us.”

She then challenged the audience to pick one area they could give back to the community, an act of service in honor of Nick. “Keep alive the spirit of goodness he brought into the world.” Ms. Pysher would add one more request: Get screened in memory of Nicholas Morehead.