In 2006, Kelly Rider-Williams, a 26 year-old Dallas resident, was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. High school geography teacher by day and activist by night, Kelly was determined to raise awareness about this disease. Despite the grueling chemotherapy and radiation, Kelly continued teaching, started her own colon cancer jewelry line and led the charge to bring the Colon Cancer Alliance’s signature event, the Undy 5000 5K Run/Walk, to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Bringing the Undy 5000 to Dallas was no small task. It took nearly two years, and in 2008, Kelly chaired the planning committee and successfully launched an incredible event. Kelly’s younger sister, Casey, recalls the moment, “I have never been more proud and inspired by my older sister than that day.”[caption id="attachment_867" align="alignright" width="389"] Casey Rider (sister), Jason Williams (brother in law), Kelly Rider Williams, Joette Rider (mom) and Dick Rider (dad)[/caption]
At age 29, Kelly lost her fight with colon cancer, but not before making her family promise to continue supporting the Colon Cancer Alliance and assure the growth of the Dallas Undy 5000. And the Rider Family has done just that.
Through the vision and action of one woman, more than $400,000 has been raised through the Dallas Undy 5000 since 2008. More than $60,000 of that has been given to Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, which brings treatment breakthroughs and clinical trials directly to colon cancer patients in the Dallas area.
“Kelly would be so proud to see how far the Dallas Undy 5000 has come,” Casey says. “Seeing this race grow has kept her memory alive, and I can’t think of a better way to honor her legacy than to see this year’s race as the best one yet.”
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. In Dallas there have been 800 diagnoses and 287 colon cancer deaths this year alone.
Whether you are an avid runner, survivor or are supporting someone affected by this disease, the Undy 5000 is a morning of inspiration and encouragement.
“Every dollar raised and every person who crosses the finish line at the Dallas Undy 5000 is proof that one person can make a difference. Without Kelly, none of this would be possible,” said Todd Setter, National Director of the Undy 5000 Series.
This year’s Dallas Undy 5000 takes place this Saturday, October 26. Participants will be running and walking through White Rock Lake Park wearing their family-friendly, underwear-themed outfits. For more information or to register, visit www.undy5000.org and click on Dallas, TX.