March 01, 2023

The Drive to Raise Awareness at the Cologuard Classic

Carole Motycka was not a golfer.

In fact, her only on-course experience consisted of caddying for her husband, Mike Mancini, when he was invited to compete in the 2021 Cologuard Classic Professional-Amateur (Pro-Am) event in Tucson, Arizona.

But a lack of golf skills wouldn’t keep Carole from teeing off this year alongside pro golfer and Cologuard® ambassador Jerry Kelly, Mike’s Pro-Am partner in 2021. A deeply personal reason was driving her. After Mike’s passing in 2022 from colorectal cancer, Carole vowed to take the course in his honor in this year’s event. One thing needed to happen first, though: She had to learn to play.

Making a difference

Carole and Mike met in 2019 in Washington, D.C., at a Fight Colorectal Cancer (CRC) advocacy event. Both were stage IV colorectal cancer survivors, and they connected immediately over their passion for standing up against the disease.


Carole and Mike at Fight CRC's Call-on Congress

From that day on, the pair continued their advocacy efforts and took on their battle against cancer together. They both served as patient ambassadors at Fight CRC. In that role, they worked in Connecticut to meet with members of Congress and raise more awareness for colorectal cancer. In 2018, they attended the Cologuard Classic golf tournament, then in its first few years of raising awareness around early detection of colorectal cancer. Later, Mike was selected to play alongside Jerry Kelly in the 2021 Pro-Am event. Although she didn’t know much at all about golf, Carole caddied for Mike.

“Participating in the 2021 Cologuard Classic was a dream come true for Mike and me,” Carole said. “It was an event that brought together a love of golf and our life mission of finding a path to a cure of colorectal cancer.”

That same year, Mike received the tournament’s John MacLeod Champions Award for his efforts in colorectal cancer advocacy. The award honors the late John MacLeod, an ambassador for colorectal cancer awareness and member of the Fight CRC Board of Directors who believed that together we can make a difference. Mike was recognized for being an agent of change in the cancer community. Despite having never met, he and John became inextricably linked on that day. Amazingly, the two even share the same birthday.


Left to right: Carol Kelly, Mike Mancini, Jerry Kelly, Carole Motycka

Amid their advocacy work, Carole and Mike married in February 2022. Shortly after, Mike’s health declined, and he passed away in March at their home in Connecticut.


Carole and Mike on their wedding day

Building a golfer

After Mike’s passing, Carole made it her mission to continue her husband’s legacy. Despite having no previous golf experience, Carole committed to play in the Cologuard Classic to honor Mike. She enrolled in golf lessons and practiced year-round, playing indoors during the winter months.

And when Carole takes the course on Thursday, March 2 with Jerry Kelly, a part of Mike will be at her side: She had his golf clubs re-sized to fit her height and will use them in the Pro-Am event, two years after Mike teed off on the same course.

“Playing in the Pro-Am in honor of Mike will allow our story and his legacy to continue to make an impact. Mike carried the torch heroically for so many of us while simultaneously fighting his own battle. He changed the game for the better and was a guiding light in the fight to so many individuals,” Carole said. “Now, I have the duty to pick up the torch and carry it forward, continuing the narrative for myself as a survivor and to honor him and his heroic ‘do it like MIKE’ legacy.”

Although Mike lost his battle to colorectal cancer, his fight against the disease is not over. His legacy continues through his family, friends, and the Mike Mancini HERO Fund. Supported by Fight CRC, this fund inspires other survivors and community members to join together and stand up against colorectal cancer. It provides funds for survivors to attend three advocacy events: Fight CRC’s Call-on Congress, Climb for a Cure, and the Cologuard Classic.

Mike’s mission was to ensure that no one ever faces cancer alone. He and Carole serve as a reminder that all patients are united in advocacy. Carole appears at this year’s tournament alongside many others with their own stories to tell about the battle against colorectal cancer. Sure, most stories aren’t about learning to putt. But like Carole’s story, all are tales of hope and courage and honoring the fight.

Learn more about the Cologuard Classic.