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Celebrating the Life of Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., Advocate in the Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

Celebrating the Life of Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., Advocate in the Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

It is with great sadness that we share that Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., a visionary policymaker in relentless pursuit of our shared goal to save lives from colorectal cancer, passed away on April 24, 2024, at the age of 65. Rep. Payne, Jr. was an enduring contributor to the American Cancer Society National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (ACS NCCRT) and our shared goal to reach colorectal cancer screening rates of 80% and higher for many years. He was also a generous and genuine friend to so many of us.

Rep. Payne, Jr. served the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey since 2012, the same year that his father, Rep. Donald M. Payne, passed away from colorectal cancer. Rep. Payne Jr. championed colorectal cancer-related causes as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Colorectal Cancer Caucus. He was a lead sponsor of the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act and supported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Colorectal Cancer Control Program. The ACS NCCRT was proud to feature him as the keynote speaker at the 2014 ACS NCCRT Annual Meeting.

Dr. Steven Itzkowitz, ACS NCCRT chair, shared his reflections on Rep. Payne, Jr. and his lasting contributions to our shared work: “Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. fought tirelessly to promote colorectal cancer screening among eligible individuals, especially those from underserved communities. Motivated in part by his father’s struggle with colorectal cancer, Congressman Payne leveraged his influence in Congress to pass legislation that has saved thousands of lives by eliminating barriers to screening colonoscopy. The healthcare community has lost a close friend and valiant champion of health equity, but we vow to continue his vision of reducing the burden of colorectal cancer in every community.”

Rep. Payne, Jr.’s contributions in his career in Congress are innumerable, leading him to receive high honors, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s National Distinguished Advocacy Award, the organization’s highest honor, in 2021.  

We express our deepest condolences to his family and the communities that he served.

Learn more about Rep. Payne, Jr. and his cancer-fighting legacy in the Congressional Press Release and in this statement from ACS CAN.

Rep. Payne, Jr. signing the 80% Pledge.


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Opinions expressed in these blog posts are that of the author and do not represent policies of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable or the author’s institution.

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