Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. despite being one of the most preventable according to the American Cancer Society. In 2007, nearly 150,000 people were diagnosed and nearly 55,000 people died from the disease.
March is colon cancer awareness month and to honor it the Colon Cancer Coalition is announcing the first ever Get Your Rear in Gear 5K race in Boston.
Caitlin and Maggie Gambee volunteered to bring the race to the Boston area to spread awareness about colon cancer prevention, an issue brought close to their hearts after loosing their father to the disease, Their father was only 34 years old when he was diagnosed with stage three colonrectal cancer, he died six years later in 2000 when the girls were only 10 and 12 years old.
“After he passed, we went through the process of falling apart and putting ourselves back together,” said Caitlin. “Maggie and I were struggling to find a way to fight against something that left a huge hole in our lives. Why did no one want to talk about this disease when it is the number two cancer killer?”
Kristen Tabor founded Get Your Rear in Gear in 2005 in honor of her sister, Susie Lindquist Mjelde, who died of colon cancer in 2002. The organization has managed to raise over $1,000,000 through races and events in communities throughout the U.S. Funds raised by the coalition are distributed in the form of grants and used to spread awareness and bring screening to uninsured and low-income communities.
Despite the prevalence of colon cancer, it rarely shares the spotlight with more popular cancers like breast and prostate. But the Colon Cancer Coalition wants to change this.
“Twenty years ago, breast cancer was a taboo subject at the dinner table, with friends, and especially in the media, today women walk around proudly wearing pink and discussing the importance of screening programs. With more outreach and awareness we can do the same with colorectal cancer awareness and attitudes.” Said Tabor.
The race will be held on Saturday, November 12 at 9:00 AM starting at Fort Independence/Castle Island in South Boston. ABC’s Boston Med star, Tom Alden, a colon cancer survivor, will be in attendance. To sign up for the race or stay informed about colon cancer events in the area contact Caitlin Gambee.
The American Cancer Society recommends men and women begin regular screening at age 50. Colonoscopy screening every 10 years is recommended but can be more frequent if there is a family or personal history of the disease. For more information on colon cancer screening visit the American Cancer Society.