The month of March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, but that didn’t keep hundreds of runners from participating in the inaugural “Get Your Rear in Gear” event at the Fairgrounds early this morning.
There were teams of runners of all ages, and one group in light blue t-shirts stood out amongst the crowd. Team Valerie consisted of more than a hundred participants, and it was all for one person.
“My story began in October with a colonoscopy and a surprise diagnosis of cancer. I had a [colonoscopy] two years ago, and all of a sudden cancer became a part of my world,” said Valerie.
Valerie, who has no family history of colon cancer, says her best friend helped her through this ordeal. Her best friend from childhood knew all too well the dangers that are associated with this disease.
“It just so happen that both of her parents died of colon cancer when we were in school. Her dad when we were in first grade, and then her mom when we were in seventh grade.”
Valerie says without her best friend, Team Valerie would not exist.
“She thought, I can put a team together for Valerie. And she did. She put together Team Valerie. The interest from friends and family just poured out.”
Many many don’t realize colon cancer is a preventable disease. In many cases, it starts out as a polyp, which can be removed if detected. If left alone, the polyp can grow into cancer.
Colon cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world. Colon cancer is often symptomless; therefore, the colonoscopies are vital. Doctors urge men and women to get a colonoscopy after the age of 50.
Valerie says her doctor saved her life and she’s so appreciative of all the support she’s received.
“Its humbling. I’ve never been the one that wanted the attention to be about me. I’ve always wanted to be the helper and now unfortunately now I am the one that needs help. And to be surrounded by all this help is amazing.”
Fox10 Sports Anchor Simone Eli was a guest runner at Saturday’s event. We will have more on today’s Fun Run at Fox10News at 9:00 p.m..