By V.S. Santoni

In memory of the late saxophonist James Casey, whose life was cut short at 40 by colon cancer in August 2023, a special concert was held at Brooklyn Bowl on Monday, Nov. 6. This unique event pays homage to Casey’s musical prowess and amplifies the urgent need to address the disproportionate impact of colorectal cancer on Black and Brown communities, along with the concerning rise in early-onset cases.

James Casey, an influential saxophonist, and advocate for colorectal cancer awareness, envisioned a celebratory event rather than a traditional memorial service. Curated by Louis Cato and Raydar Ellis, the evening featured musical performances honoring Casey’s legacy. Proceeds from this event went toward supporting the Colorectal Cancer Alliance (CCA) and the Association of Black Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists (ABGH).

The spotlight extends beyond the stage to underscore the stark disparities in colorectal cancer outcomes, particularly impacting Black and Brown communities. Black Americans face a thirty percent higher likelihood of developing early-onset colorectal cancer, with one in four diagnoses occurring in later stages. Furthermore, the Black community bears the weight of being thirty-five percent more likely to succumb to the disease, emphasizing the urgent need for targeted interventions and increased awareness according to CCA.

This poignant event was not just a musical celebration but a platform to shed light on the rising incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer. James Casey, diagnosed at the age of 38, well below the recommended age for colonoscopy screenings, became a public advocate for awareness. His story serves as a poignant reminder that colorectal cancer is not confined to older individuals, with alarming rates of diagnosis among young people.

In addition to commemorating Casey’s musical legacy, the concert aims to raise awareness about the importance of early detection, dispelling myths, and advocating for equitable access to preventive measures. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance, through the James Casey Memorial Fund, continues to champion this cause, furthering Casey’s mission to make a lasting impact in the fight against colorectal cancer.

For additional information on James Casey’s life and legacy, please visit

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