Because, honestly, who wouldn’t want to run through a giant colon?
On March 22, participants in the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K Run/Walk will get to trot through a giant, Pepto-Bismol pink inflatable arch complete with veins and funky little bumps, which we can only assume represent cancerous growths.
But there’s a reason behind this madness. The Colon Cancer Coalition wants to make the words colon, colorectal and colonoscopy – and giant inflatable colons, presumably – a part of our everyday language. That, they say, will make us less squeamish about colon cancer itself, encourage us to get early screenings and, ultimately, decrease the number of deaths due to this largely preventable cancer.
That I can get behind.
Nearly 500 runners will participate in the Austin race, which starts with a few guest speakers at 8 a.m., followed by a Kids K a few minutes later, and finally the 5K at 8:30 a.m. Money raised at the event will be used to fund colon cancer screening and support programs.
Think it won’t matter to you? One in 20 Americans is diagnosed with colon cancer in their lifetime.
Early detection is key to beating the disease, but Texas ranks poorly when it comes to screenings. Only 60 percent of Texans get screened, putting us in 41st place in the country. A colonoscopy can detect and remove colon polyps before they become cancer, preventing the disease from occurring.
Local survivor Victoria Connor-Eagen was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer when she was 48.
“I assumed I was not at risk, since I was below the recommended screening age of 50. I am very lucky that my cancer was discovered early, and that I did not ignore my symptoms,” she says. “Young people need to be aware of their risk, and the preventative measures they can take to remain cancer free.”
Nine out of 10 patients survive five or more years when colon cancer is caught in early, but only one in 10 lives that long when the disease is diagnosed in late stages. Right now, 60 percent of patients nationwide are diagnosed with late stage disease.
To register for the run, go here. Race day registration is also available at Camp Mabry.