The passion and dedication of our Central Arizona Chapter continue to elevate our organization and inspire us every day. With the Phoenix Undy Run/Walk approaching next month, we’ve seen their hard work out in full force recently. Find out what drives this group and why they’re super excited for next month’s Undy!
Janelle Hill, Phoenix Undy Run/Walk Chairperson[caption id="attachment_2363" align="alignright" width="277"] Janelle Hill, Central AZ Chapter Phoenix Undy Run/Walk Chairperson[/caption]
What does the Undy means to you?
So many things! First, we are fortunate enough here in Arizona to partner with the AZ Department of Health Services to assist in funding their Fit at Fifty program to pay for colonoscopies for the un/underinsured. Half of the net proceeds that we receive locally go to the program. The funds generated from the Undy also help pay for chapter awareness activities that we participate in throughout the year. Lastly, the Undy Run/Walk helps fund Blue Note Fund grants to patients in need throughout the state of Arizona. Through this one event. we're having a serious impact on our local community.
What's your favorite thing about the event?
It is hard to put into words my one favorite thing about the Undy Run/Walk because the experience that I have at the Undy every year is indescribable. It is not just another fundraising charity run, it is much more than that... It is a time for those that have been touched by colorectal cancer to get together and to know that they are not alone. Even though I have been a part of the Phoenix Undy for many years now, and have been the Undy Chairperson for two years, it is still a very heart wrenching, emotional event.
Where does your passion for this cause stem from?
My passion for the colorectal cancer cause stems from the fact that I was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer at the age of 35 years old. The fear and devastation that a cancer diagnosis can cause is traumatic. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and I do what I can every day to prevent this disease from affecting any more lives. Even though I am a survivor and I am now 10 years out from my diagnosis, my life and that of my family members has been changed forever.
What's one thing you want people to know about the Undy?
I want people to know that being a part of the Phoenix Undy Run/Walk is a life changing experience. Once you participate in the event you will look forward to the Undy every year. It sounds cliche' to say but you really feel like part of a family!
What can people do to help?
The biggest thing that people can do to help make the Undy a success is to help promote, promote, promote! We need to talk to our friends, family,and fellow community members to come out and support our event. They can support through actually participating in the event and/or sponsoring our event. We do not have a large budget to put into advertising to promote so we need the help of our fabulous Arizona residents.[caption id="attachment_2351" align="aligncenter" width="430"] Central AZ Chapter table at the AZ Non Profit Expo in September.[/caption]
Kevin Bergersen, Public Relations Chairperson
What does the Undy mean to you?
The Undy is the one time a year where anyone with a connection to this horrible disease can come together in a place of unity and celebrate our[caption id="attachment_2364" align="alignright" width="393"] Kevin Bergersen, Central AZ Chapter Public Relations Chairperson, with Sean McLaughlin of CBS5 and the Phoenix Suns Gorilla, promoting the Undy![/caption]
kindred spirit of healing and for beating this monster. We never cease to be in awe of what we see, and we gather strength from those near and dear to us who have beat the monster and those who are no longer here because of this disease…we dedicate ourselves to the Undy for those battling this disease and for those who have passed, the Rebecca's, Betty Rose’s, Arijit’s, Kathleen’s, Roni’s, Marty’s and the countless others out there too numerous to count.
Why should people attend and/or support this event?
This event allows our Chapter and our awesome partners at the Arizona Department of Health services to provide patient, survivor and caregiver support while promoting general community awareness and education for prevention and early detection, thereby increasing screening rates of this preventable disease for all Arizonans. We are sick and tired of seeing 970 Arizonans die annually from this disease!
Why are you passionate about this cause?
Our vision is for a world free of colorectal cancer, where education, early detection and treatment lead to survivorship for all. We, as a Chapter, are passionate about this disease because:
· Betty Rose wouldn’t take no for an answer
· We lost a beloved father, patriarch, and grandfather
· No 41 year old mother of two should ever hear the words “you have cancer”
· Both parents died from cancers within three days of being released from the hospital after a colon resection
· Want to save lives and help patients through the Blue Note Fund
· We want to advocate on a national level in honor of our beloved mother and because we were diagnosed with cancer just like our father
· We hate what radiation’s side effects do to us
· We were diagnosed at age 45 with no family history of cancer
· 20 year olds shouldn’t die from this disease
· Because we want to help our Belgian friend in late stage active treatment here in Phoenix
· We want to connect to our community and because we desire a common goal, a world free from preventable colorectal cancers
· We mourn for all the thousands of Arizona's who die before we get to know them
What's one thing you want the world to know about colon cancer?
This disease is preventable, beatable and curable. We desperately want the people of our state to know that we are here for them and that the Arizona Chapter of the Colon Cancer Alliance HAS YOUR BACK (SIDE) ARIZONA!
Don’t forget, if you have questions or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help.