In Memoriam

We hold the colleagues we have lost in our hearts forever. COLONTOWN and all our programs are a testament to the work and love of these wonderful people. Each of them chose to give back to their community, and each of them directly impacted the lives of thousands of patients.


Lindsey Musick

COLONTOWN Mayor, 2020-2022

Lindsey led COLONTOWN as it expanded dramatically, and worked tirelessly to shepherd her beloved Empowered Patient Leader program through the pandemic and beyond. When Lindsey became Mayor, she wrote this introduction:

I am a single mom of 3 beautiful babies and I have stage IV colon cancer.
I was initially overwhelmed by my diagnosis and realized that I needed to learn everything I could about this cancer and how to survive. I discovered COLONTOWN, where I met young parents just like me juggling family and a devastating diagnosis.
In COLONTOWN, I found cutting edge medical information, resources on every aspect of life with cancer, and forever friends. COLONTOWN gave me the tools to extend my life.
I am thrilled to be a part of the leadership team of this groundbreaking and original community seeking to save and improve the lives of cancer patients.

Jennifer Eldridge

Jen Eldridge

COLONTOWN University Team, 2021-2022

Jen's work can be seen in our CRC101 Learning Center, where she distilled the experiences of so many newly diagnosed patients into a clear and compassionate guide. By way of introduction, she wrote:

In July 2020, at the age of 40, I was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer. Shortly after diagnosis, I received the devastating news that the disease had spread to my liver, lungs and throughout my lymph nodes.
When I joined COLONTOWN, I was immediately accepted into an amazing, supportive and educational community, which taught me so much about my disease and how to advocate for myself as a patient.
The information that I gained from COLONTOWN led my family to an international move, a change in oncologist a new chemotherapy regime, and surgery to remove my primary tumor and liver mets.
Before my diagnosis, I worked for 15 years as an elementary school teacher all over the world. I hold a BA in Psychology and Spanish Literature from Smith College and a Master’s in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College.
Through COLONTOWN, I have found so much hope and support and gained the tools to advocate for myself and search out the best treatment options. I am so excited to join the team and help bring the same sense of hope and empowerment to others who are in a similar position.

Steve Schwarze

Steve Schwarze

Director of Clinical Trials Programming, 2021-2022 (among many other jobs)

Steve served the community in many ways over his years with us. As Interim Mayor, Community Leader, Workshop Faculty, Cabinet Member, and Director of Clinical Trials Programming, Steve was always at the heart of COLONTOWN. When he took on leadership of our clinical trials education programs, perhaps the effort he was most proud of out of all his COLONTOWN "hats," he wrote:

I helped build and lead our nine neighborhoods that are focused on clinical trials. We have 1,800+ in our MSS TRIALS neighborhood, and smaller numbers in others (MSI, RAS, BRAF, HER2+, CHEK2, Anal, CAR-T, and NIH). In this role I oversee discussions about clinical trials and treatment options, and act as a liaison between members and several top CRC oncologists to help answer patients’ questions.
In the spring of 2020, I worked to facilitate the transition of COLONTOWN to a member-led model as PALTOWN expands. I am now the Director of Clinical Trials Programming for PALTOWN, coordinating our expanding portfolio of education, training, and conversation around clinical trials. 
I also lead PALTOWN's Clinical Trials Navigator program, which trains community members to help fellow patients learn about clinical trials and navigate the process of making decisions and enrolling in those trials. My day job is Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Climate Change Studies Program at The University of Montana in Missoula, MT.

lindsey musick
Steve strong arm

COLONTOWN is supported and managed by PALTOWN, a nonprofit dedicated to community and patient empowerment.

Our wonderful staff – almost all patients and caregivers themselves – keep the lights on, the wheels turning, and do all the innumerable tasks of running a small nonprofit. Please consider helping us!