February 6, 2014
Sacramento Man’s Crusade to Honor His Brother’s Cancer Fight
Local Man Fueled By Loss Becomes an Advocate against a Silent Killer
(February 6, 2014) Sacramento, CA – Dominic DiFede was shocked when his oldest brother, Robert, was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at the young age of 39. Over the next two years, Robert underwent multiple surgeries to remove parts of his colon and rounds of chemotherapy to combat this disease. Despite aggressive treatment, within a year the cancer had spread to his lungs. With Robert’s cancer now classified as terminal, Dominic began frantically searching for information about the disease that was killing his brother.
What he found was alarming: although colon cancer is largely preventable, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Why hadn’t he heard about a disease so prevalent and deadly? Dominic turned to the Colon Cancer Alliance as his go-to source of information and began researching their Undy 5000 5K, hoping that the event would come to Sacramento to finally get people in the local community talking about this disease. More than anything else, Dominic was looking for a source of support and a way to show his brother that he was not alone in this fight.
Less than three years after his original diagnosis, Robert was told continuing treatment would only slow the growth of his cancer for three to four months. Robert made the difficult decision to stop chemotherapy, and after a short month, Dominic lost his older brother on November 17, 2008. Robert was only 42.
Dominic has chosen to grieve by educating others about colon cancer and doing everything he can to raise awareness. In 2012, the Colon Cancer Alliance brought their Undy 5000 5K to Sacramento. Unable to attend, he spent the next year training for the 2013 event. Despite chronic back pain, Dominic finished his first 5K in memory of his brother.
“When my brother died, I felt as if he and my family were alone in our battle against colon cancer,” said Dominic. “Events like the Undy 5000 allow us to meet people who have been in the same place or people who are new to the cause but want to offer support.”
This year’s Sacramento Undy 5000 supports both local and national efforts. Locally, funds will support the California Colorectal Cancer Coalition (C4), an organization working to eliminate disparities in the screening and treatment of colon cancer in underserved populations. Funds also support the Colon Cancer Alliance’s national prevention, research and patient support initiatives.
“As each person crosses the finish line, remember this: no matter how colon cancer has impacted you, on the day of the Undy 5000, you feel like you won!”
The 2014 Sacramento Undy 5000 is Saturday, March 1st at 9:00 a.m. Participants will be running and walking in William Land Park wearing their family-friendly, underwear-themed outfits to get people talking about colon cancer. For more information or to register, visit www.undy5000.org and click on Sacramento, CA.