Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenney Lead From Behind To Help Prevent Colon Cancer


Robert Goldrich
Friday, Sep. 16, 2022


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Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, owners of Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC, star in this short film in which a friendly wager ultimately results in both of them getting, filming and broadcasting their colonoscopies

The video, from Reynolds’ creative agency Maximum Effort, promotes the Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s Lead From Behind initiative designed to raise awareness that colon cancer is preventable--the best way being to get a colonoscopy. In 2021, guidelines were revised, lowering the recommended age for a first colonoscopy from 50 to 45 for men. Reynolds and McElhenney both turned 45 this year.

“I’ve been on camera a lot. But this was the first time one was shoved up my ass,” said Reynolds. “The procedure and prep were painless but the discomfort of filming and sharing the process was the hardest part. Rob and I did it because we want this potentially life-saving procedure to be less mysterious and stigmatized.”

“Ryan and I both turned 45 this year and this is just a rite of passage,” added Rob McElhenney, “and a great one because it can literally save your life. It’s obviously a procedure that makes people uncomfortable but it sure beats getting cancer. We wanted to have fun with this because as with all the weird things that happen in life, why not make it fun instead of scary?”

Lead From Behind is founded by Brooks Bell, tech entrepreneur and colon cancer survivor, and powered by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, the largest colon cancer nonprofit organization. Lead From Behind’s goal is to make colon cancer famous, inspire millions to get checked and save 100,000 lives.

“I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer at 38. I’m a trend, not a tragedy,” says Brooks Bell, founder, LEAD FROM BEHIND and self-proclaimed Colonoscopy Enthusiast. “Around one in three people has a polyp by the time they are 45. Polyps usually have no symptoms. A colonoscopy will find them, and snip them out on the spot, preventing cancer down the road! After I was diagnosed, my 35 year old sister got her first colonoscopy and they found and removed a large polyp. It may have saved her life.”

“This year, 150,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. They don’t need to be because colon cancer is preventable,” says Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, who lost his mother to the disease in 2009 and created the Alliance that has served nearly 2 million patients and caregivers. “From a colonoscopy to an at-home FIT kit, to a Cologuard test, there’s a way for everyone to get checked. But first they need to want to. That’s why we’ve launched Lead From Behind, and we are beyond grateful to Ryan, Rob and the whole Maximum Effort team for shining a light on a 30-minute action that saves lives.”

Lead From Behind was created in partnership with Maximum Effort and brand marketer Chrysi Phialithes, former chief digital officer of (RED).


Client Colorectal Cancer Alliance/Lead From Behind initiative Agency Maximum Effort

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