Last Saturday, nearly 1,300 people ran in support of colon cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates at the Arizona State Capitol District in underwear-themed outfits in our 6th annual Undy 5000 5K Run/Walk. Even the Phoenix Suns Gorilla came out sporting banana print boxers, and was wildly popular with participants and their families.
The Undy 5000 costume contest was a hit, showcasing some fun and elaborate “undy” ensembles. Nolan the Colon, the Central Arizona Chapter’s giant inflatable colon, was a hot spot for photo opportunities during the event.
Local Impact:[caption id="attachment_966" align="alignright" width="275"] The awesome costume contest winners: Heather Johnson and Lee Guscott![/caption]
In Arizona, colon cancer has left a bigger gap than some may think, with 19 people dying each week from this disease. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. More than 140,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013, and more than 50,000 will die from this disease.
This year’s Phoenix Undy 5000 raised more than $145,000 to fight colon cancer. Locally, funds will support the Arizona Department of Health Services Fit at Fifty HealthCheck program, which screens uninsured and underinsured residents for colon cancer and provides financial assistance to those who are diagnosed, and our local chapter. Nationally, funds will support our lifesaving prevention, research and patient support initiatives.[caption id="attachment_967" align="alignleft" width="403"] Runners show off their signs in front of the ever-famous Nolan the Colon![/caption]
Terri Baack, a member of the Central Arizona Chapter, knows firsthand the toll this disease has taken in the Phoenix area. “I was 45 years old at the time of my diagnosis and had no family history of cancer” said Baack. “It is my hope that by getting involved with the Undy 5000, people will be encouraged to get screened and be spared from this horrible and silent cancer.” Baack gave an inspirational speech to the 48 attending survivors and their friends and family in a ceremony honoring their fights and those who have been lost to this disease.