Office of Institutional Advancement

Blue is the New Pink

Colon Cancer Awareness

Boathouse Row

"I can have the best bedside manner and tools in the world, but none of that matters if I don’t get patients in the door for a colonoscopy,” says Marianne Ritchie, MD ’80, of her drive to light the Philadelphia skyline in blue from March 6 to 10 for Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Ritchie is working to make blue the new pink because, while one in eight women will get breast cancer, one in three over 50 years old and one-half of people over 60 will get colon polyps. Colon cancers are currently the second leading cause of cancerrelated death— and, though not all polyps become cancer, all colon cancers start as polyps.

Screening rates across Philadelphia are extremely low, hovering around 50 percent in some places. “Meanwhile, rates of colon cancer are rising,” says Ritchie, “and it’s because of people’s mindset surrounding colon health.”

Her solution? To light Philadelphia in blue and jump-start a city, state and even nationwide conversation on colon cancer. “If people are talking about it with each other, the idea is they’ll talk to their doctor about it the next time they come for a visit,” she says.

And momentum is already growing. This year, she got 13 buildings throughout Philadelphia to change their colors (more than any city in the country) and has had meetings with Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, Mayor Jim Kenney and other leaders about doing more.

Market Street

A nighttime Market Street view from March 6 to 10

Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Benjamin Franklin Bridge